That’s what Frederica Academy head coach Gabe Gabriel likes when his Lady Knights take the field. Controlling matches and possession of the soccer ball.
However, Coach Gabriel couldn’t control Mother Nature as she made her way through Bibb County with tornado warnings around the area. That pushed the Lady Knights semifinal matchup with defending champions Augusta Prep Day to 2 p.m. today.
“It was a decision that I don’t think (Mercer) had thought they would have to make until yesterday,” Gabriel said of the inclement weather. “I don’t know what the forecast had done because, to be honest, I hadn’t looked at them. We haven’t had to deal with much weather recently. Apparently, the system pumped up and Mercer University decided yesterday around noon that the field would be unplayable Friday and Saturday. So they had to push us to the turf field which was unavailable today because of the GHSA state championships, so we had to play on Saturday. It may have enhanced what the decision Mercer had to make in terms of their facilities.”
With the game being pushed back a day, Gabriel said it’s not a terrible situation the four finalists have been dealt with, knowing his team stayed prepared.
“I won’t complain about having another day to prepare,” Gabriel said. “Being able to train and have a full training session Thursday was nice, even though it was a little rushed and not as planned out as I typically like. We got something out of it. We are just preparing for the game being tomorrow and changing travel. It’s been a whirlwind.”
As the team prepared to head up to Mercer University on Thursday night, the change in plans gave coach Gabriel one final training session Friday.
“We are going to do a short preparation training right after school and then leave directly after that,” Gabriel said. “Already had hotel rooms booked as it was. We will get the girls up there and make sure they are fully focused and limited distractions and hopefully be ready for kickoff today.”
Although the Lady Knights are dealing with end-of school studies — AP exams, normal exams and end-of-school plays — Gabriel knows his group put up a strong week of practice.
“I think with all of that our girls have been focused,” Gabriel said. “With a younger group, the leadership with our three seniors has been key. Just bringing their experience and their mentality and state of mind into training this week has been great for us for that bigger younger core. I’m happy with what we have done so far and I hope we can continue with that in our little hour session today.
“It’s a grind, I have girls taking AP exams up until four o’clock, rushing to get to practice to get ready to go at 4:30. They don’t have very much of a break at all. These days are some of the most important so credit to them or being able to go through all