Now Strickland is taking the blueprint that has been so successful on the boys’ side and applying it to his new role as Science Hill’s girls soccer coach. After Strickland took the reigns from former head coach Megan Harmon, he said the Lady Hilltoppers have embraced the new style.
But as summer drew to a close, Strickland was anxious to see how his team would fare in competition.
“You look good playing yourself,” Strickland said. “What do we look like playing somebody else? It’s all a new system to them. The words are different.
“Coach Harmon did a good job. She handed the program off well. It’s just that we play a different style, a different system. We’ll keep the ball a lot, we’ll be aggressive. We should be a high scoring team.”
Six matches in, Strickland is satisfied with where his team is at. The Lady Hilltoppers have been tested twice in the early season, the first time in a scoreless draw against Morristown West, the second in a hard-fought 3-1 loss to Hardin Valley, the second-ranked team in the state, on Thursday night at Kermit Tipton Stadium.
Off to a 4-1-1 start, Science Hill’s offense is certainly coming along nicely. The Lady Hilltoppers have outscored their opposition 27-4 so far.
One of Science Hills biggest strengths ia experience, but the Lady Hilltoppers also have some depth. With 12 seniors on the roster and several talented younger players pushing them for playing time, Strickland is expecting plenty of competition.
“Everyone has to fight for a spot, which is good,” Strickland said. “Iron sharpens iron. They’re working hard and supporting each other, which is good.”
Hannah Torbett, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga signee, figures to play a major part in Strickland’s plans, as does goalkeeper Taylor Kelly. Brooke Vogel, Meredith Caveney, Emma Hecht, Emma Ford and Lauren Trent will also be relied upon.
As the Lady Hilltoppers continue to adjust to the fast-paced game of keep away Strickland is teaching, hopes are high in Johnson City.
“When we keep the ball, they can’t score,” Strickland said. “So that’s the big thing we’ll do.”