Caledonia High School forward Lizzie Truelock has the Lady Confederates in the thick of the playoff race. Photo by: Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch
January 22, 2019 12:21:20 AM
CALEDONIA -- Listening has helped Lizzie Truelock experience an epiphany this season.
Earlier in her Caledonia High School soccer career, Truelock would be content to go all out with one goal in mind. The forward would sometimes be successful. Other times, though, she would go so fast that she would realize possible connections or opportunities that would have helped her or her teammates accomplish the same goal possibly a little easier.
Listening became a little easier once Truelock slowed down a little bit.
"I have my teammates in my ear and they will tell me whenever somebody is coming," Truelock said. "Instead of getting tackled away I will play the ball or I will change the pace to keep possession."
It doesn't matter if Truelock is on the right or the left side because her new tempo is producing big results for the Lady Confederates. Last week, Truelock had three goals and Hallie Kate Brewer had another in Caledonia's 4-0 victory against New Hope on Tuesday. The victory helped the Lady Confederates clinch the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A, Region 3 title.
For her accomplishments, Truelock is The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week.
"The way (Louis Alexander) coaches us and teaches we are a team and we are a family, you just have to listen to each other, but you also have to talk to each other," Truelock said.
Slowing down has made that communication easier for Truelock, who also was a standout on the school's volleyball team. In that sport, Truelock said communication is "huge" and there would be a "train wreck" without it. She said you can play soccer without communicating, but she said the communication she learned during volleyball season carried over to soccer season.
"It really has been my team's support and motivation and their effect on me that has helped me become the player I am," Truelock said.
Caledonia (11-1-2) will make up a girls-boys doubleheader against Kosciusko on Thursday, which also will be Senior Night. The evening will be a chance to honor Truelock and classmates Shelbi Box, Gracie McBrayer, and Hanna Pettigrew.
For Truelock, the match will be one more step in a journey that has seen her emerge as a more patient player. As a result, Alexander said Truelock is one of the team's leading goal scorers with 15-20 goals.
"She can strike the ball well and she has speed, not just speed but quickness," Alexander said of a forward who can play on the right or the left wing. "She has always been a quality player, but one thing I think has helped her turn the corner, so to speak, I have emphasized there is a time to shoot and there is a time to finish. If you're 10, 12, or 15 yards out, you can still finish there. Take away from some of the power, pick a spot, and slide it past the keeper as opposed to striking it laces first and you're hitting it hard but nine times out of 10 it is going to over the crossbar or straight to the keeper."
Alexander said Truelock has gained perspective with experience to realize she doesn't need to go fast or hard on every play. He said the match against New Hope was a prime example because he said she slowed down, curbed her adrenaline, and finished like a seasoned veteran.
"She is definitely hitting her groove and staying calm in front of the goal," Alexander said. "It all goes back to her being cool, calm, and collected and finishing as opposed to just whacking it."
Truelock used the word "antsy" to describe her play last season. She also used words like "spastic" and "jumpy" to explain how she would go 90 mph in an attempt to accomplish a goal.
This season, though, Truelock said she has moved away from the "impulsive" player she used to be and feels she has "calmed down" when she has possession of the ball and is doing a better job of listening to her teammates. She said the Lady Confederates' ability to come together has been a key ingredient to their success.
"I am really like go, go, go, and this year I have slowed down and I have connected with the team more and we have accomplished a lot," Truelock said.
Truelock hopes to accomplish more. She said she has received some offers play soccer in college, but she isn't sure if she will concentrate on her studies -- she wants to be a veterinarian -- instead of playing a sport. Truelock said she has plenty of options and she is waiting to see what happens before she makes a final decision. Whatever choice Truelock makes, she said she wants to watch her younger sister, Kaitlyn, grow as a volleyball player. Kaitlyn also is a manager on the soccer team.
After describing herself as "antsy" as a younger player, Lizzie Truelock said she takes pride in being able to re-classify herself as "determined" and "matured" as a senior.
"I feel like I can always get better in (the aspect of maturing)," Truelock said, "so I am not going to stop here. I am going to keep trying to improve."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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