Keeping his players' legs fresh through a run of tough games weighs on the mind of Carmel Catholic girls soccer coach John Halloran.
The Corsairs are in a stretch where they'll play 12 games in a 15-day period as a consequence of earlier weather-related cancellations.
Through it all, the main goal for Carmel remains going after an East Suburban Catholic Conference title. The Corsairs took another step closer to achieving just on Saturday, as a 3-0 victory over visiting Nazareth on Saturday will only help.
"This was our focus -- this was a big game for us," said Halloran, whose team improved to 10-1 overall and 5-0 in the ESCC. "It's a big hurdle, and we're past it now. If we run the table, then the conference is ours. It was a big win and we came out ready to play with big energy in the first half."
The Corsairs have games at Providence and Marian Catholic, with make-up matches at Fenwick and host Marist.
Carmel suffered its first loss of the season to Hersey on Thursday. But that loss doesn't hurt much, as it doesn't detract from the priority of winning the league. The Corsairs remained focused on getting the most out of practices, but they're also using games as a kind of learning forum.
"At practice, we're mainly keeping things light every day," Halloran said. "For the nonconference games we're giving our younger kids a lot of minutes. Which is not only good to keep our players fresh for the conference, but its good for the long term because we're getting sophomores and juniors some more playing time.
"The nice thing about all of this is that we have a deep squad and we don't miss a beat."
Bri Carlson and Meegan Johnston led the Corsairs with a goal and assist Saturday as part of a 3-goal effort in the first half against Nazareth.
Elizabeth Bream netted the other goal off an assist from Caitlin Murphy.
"The majority of the team is seniors and it's nice to know where everybody will be passing and moving," said Carlson, a midfielder. "The team is playing well together and connecting our passes. Our forwards and midfielders have a way of driving on offense.
"We've played together for the last three to four years. We definitely know where each other are going to be at. We've done a lot in practice and worked hard to see the connections we can make."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.