MHS Girl’s soccer program continues to improve

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Jerry Rea

Coach Hipple leading the Girl’s Varsity soccer team in their pre-game chant.

Madison Curtis , Staff Writer

The turf gleams under the stadium lights as the players take their positions on the field. Within seconds the referee blows the whistle, and the ball is played into motion. Instantly, shouting fills the air as one of the girls makes her way down the field. After dodging multiple failed attacks from the opposing team, she focuses on the goal and lines up her shot. The ball leaves her feet and soars into the open net. Cheers erupt from the sidelines.

The MHS girl’s soccer program is among the many teams working towards a successful season this spring. Head coach and MHS faculty member Tommy Hipple is joined by former MHS varsity soccer player Jenna Smith in coaching the boys and girl’s soccer program for the 2021-22 school year. With the support of family and MHS’s very own Flop Squad – the peer lead soccer student section – the athletes take on teams from all over Oakland County.

After coaching at MHS for the last 10 years, Hipple expressed confidence in the development of the girl’s soccer program. “It has been a continual process for the last 10 years…to keep getting better and better, and the goal is to continue on that trend,” he stated. Hipple has worked hard with the JV and Varsity teams to bring everyone together and create a family-like environment. Lily Shaw, a senior and three-year varsity soccer player, credited Hipple with “doing a great job building our program to become closer between teammates and between the two teams, JV and Varsity.”

After a challenging two years, high school students are beginning to experience some form of normality in sports due to the end of the mask mandate and the allowance of peers at games. As the season takes off, Hipple stated, “This is the first time in a while that we’re getting back to normal,” and he is excited to be able to “have team dinners and do team building activities again.”

Last spring season, the Varsity team successfully made it to the MHSAA districts. However, in a tension-filled shootout against Walled Lake Northern, it ended in a heartbreaking loss for the athletes. Nevertheless, the girls are working harder than ever to make a comeback. Leah Merriam, a junior and three-year varsity soccer player, spoke for many members of the team when she said, “I would like to see us place in the top half of our conference and compete in the Lake Valley Conference Tournament championship.”

Working alongside Hipple, Coach Smith is assisting the JV athletes by helping them develop their skills and transforming them into a unified team. Previously, Smith played varsity soccer at Milford High School and went on to play for Schoolcraft College and Aquinas College after graduating in 2016. She started coaching at MHS in the spring of 2018, but took two years off. In 2021, she came back to the program and became the JV soccer coach for both the boy’s and girl’s soccer teams. This season, Smith stated that she is “looking forward to teaching and sharing as much knowledge I have about the game and hopefully making a positive impact on the team through soccer.”

Like Varsity, the JV team is striving for success against the other JV teams in the district and is looking forward to competing in the Lakes Valley Conference. With support from both coaches, the team has continued to improve through practice and dedication. Smith went on to state that one of her main goals for the season is “to be as supportive as I can in whatever anyone needs and instill that in the team in hopes that they also support one another as much as possible.”

As the spring season progresses, family, friends, and community members are welcome to come and support the JV and Varsity girl’s soccer teams at their weekly games. Some upcoming JV and Varsity game dates include May 3 against Lakeland, May 5 against Walled Lake Northern, and May 10 against Waterford Kettering (at Kettering). Please note these dates are prone to change. More information about game times and dates can be found at milfordmavs.org under the spring sports section.