SHELLEY – The Shelley Lady Russets have had a season that is not what the Russets faithful are used to.
That all changed on Monday afternoon when the Lady Russets hosted Blackfoot in the traditional senior night where all the seniors are honored for their years of dedication, practice, games, and of course the disappointments as well, when players get injured and miss games for whatever reason.
Senior nights are not always the most successful of ventures, depending on the opponent and the current status of the team when in comes to injuries and missing parts of the team.
On this occasion, senior night was very successful and not just because the Lady Russets came away with a 5-2 win over cross Bingham County rival Blackfoot. It was also the first win of the season for the Lady Russets and made amends for a loss to these same Lady Broncos back on Sept. 18 in Blackfoot.
Both teams finished up at 1-9 in conference play and 1-13 overall, and will occupy the fifth and sixth seeds in the upcoming district tournament.
The important thing for the Lady Russets is that they played a complete game for probably the first time all season. They were strong on offense and they were stout on defense and at times looked to be a much better team than the one who only put up 15 goals on the season. They scored a season high of five in this contest and actually moved the ball the best that they had all year.
They got open shots and they took them with a vengeance that showed they have improved drastically and that things have come together for the team that had suffered through some tough losses to teams that were much better than they were at different points in the season.
This looked a lot like the team that head coach Jim Gregory had expected to open the season with.
The Lady Russets must have been shocked when they saw the schedule for the season that included four games in six days as they opened play, with all of them scheduled for the road. To make things even worse, they were forced to dip into the ranks of the junior varsity to cover for injuries sustained in those first few games. Not a good way to open the season.
They have rebounded, found their stride so to speak and just in time for the district tournament.
That doesn’t mean that they will be a contender for the district title, but there is hope for the possibility of a win and that would mean the world to this team, especially for the future.
The Lady Russets will catch either Idaho Falls or Hillcrest in the opening round of the tournament and they have had some success against both teams, so with the newfound confidence that will come from the win over Blackfoot, they have a chance and that is all that is needed this time of year, a chance to play and come away with a win. The tournament will begin later this week when brackets are released.