By VAN HOLLAND
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Leshaun Jenkins and his Tarboro Lady Vikings have one thing in mind and that is to go deep in the playoffs. Jenkins knows he has the talent to make some noise in the playoffs, but to do so, they have to get past Corinth Holders in the first round today. Tarboro travels to Wendell to play at 6 p.m.
Tarboro (13-3-1) rolled through the season beating teams handily, but they took a stumble the last two out of three matches in Eastern Plains Conference action, which forced them into a three way tie for first place.
The conference decided to do a drawing to see who would get which seed out of the conference and it was Tarboro's luck of the draw they got the third seed, which puts them on the road throughout the playoffs.
Jenkins isn't mad about the situation though, because he knows his team has to play quality opponents in the playoffs if they want to advance and what better way then to start then against Corinth Holders.
"I think when you are in the playoffs and on the road, it is imperative to score first, Jenkins said. "We have to somehow shift the pressure from Tarboro to Corinth."
Jenkins never puts his team on the spot and tells them they have to play perfect soccer. But he does let them know that they need to play hard and smart the entire 80 minutes of the match. He uses that as a defensive goal.
Shayla Thorne has been dynamic offensively this year for the Vikings. She has scored 39 goals and has nine assist. Senior Julie Hayes has scored 23 goals, added 12 assists and Chandler Harris and Katie King each have added five goals. King also has 12 assists.
"My offense has to score plain and simple," Jenkins said. "You can't win matches unless you put the ball in the back of the net. So offensively we will have to just play aggressively and play together."
Tarboro has plenty of offensive pressure they can pour on their opponents, but Jenkins also knows he has to have a great defense to win matches.
Tarboro couldn't be where they are right now without their tough defense. Jenkins knows how important it is to have a solid defense. It all starts with Harris at the sweeper spot. She is like the second goalie for the Vikings. Anna Johnson and Kaylyn Norville also give a spark on defense to help control opponents.
The spark plug to the defense is goalie Courtney Perkins. She has stepped up to the challenge this year and has 10 shutouts.
Last year Tarboro was ousted in the first round of the playoffs, but Jenkins feels his team has more knowledge and skill set a year later.