Orr, Cougars look ahead to final stretch of season

Published 4:26 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Ainsley Orr made two big saves for Brookhaven Academy in the second half of a 6-0 thrashing of Cathedral Tuesday afternoon to maintain a clean sheet. The goalkeeper saved a chance on a breakaway and a free kick in the win. 

The clean sheet helps Brookhaven Academy with goal differential if they were to go to tiebreakers with Oak Forest Academy. Orr said she was pretty relaxed in goal. It was a fairly quiet night for her as Cathedral did not threaten much on the attack. 

“It was exciting to not let them score but it’s an everyday thing for me,” Orr said. “I would rather not have a lot of action. The end of the regular season is exciting for me. I think we can go all the way and win the state. I expect the next two games to be hard. They will get more shots on me than what I’ve been seeing.” 

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Brookhaven Academy plays Hattiesburg Forerunners Thursday afternoon and then Oak Forest Academy in a match to decide district next Monday. Head Coach Alex Brown said the Cougars would claim a district title with a win and then would likely host St. Aloysius on October 2 in a MAIS playoff match. 

Orr said the games against tough opponents prepares her for the playoffs. She is looking for vengeance this year after a 3-1 loss to Madison St. Joe in the playoffs last year. 

“I cried last year. I put the blame on myself and almost broke my hand punching the ground. The loss was very sad for me,” Orr said. “For Madison St. Joe to score three goals it was just hard to get through it. I have had to move forward and tell myself I’ll get better. Not every goal is your fault.” 

Experience is best teacher

Over the summer, she went to a goalkeeping camp where she learned the importance of diving and improved her goal kicks. Orr’s distribution and ability to read the game have improved, Brown said. Those are skills only experience can teach. 

Reagan Fortenberry had three goals in the win, Mallory Martin had two, Ava Calcote had one goal and Mary Anson Tate scored a goal. Calcote often visits with Orr as they walk off the field. Orr said Calcote is one of her best friends on and off the field. 

Brown said Orr’s pre-match routine is a bit different. She likes to go to Taco Bell and order the soft taco supreme with a Mountain Dew Freeze as a pre-match meal. Orr warms up by taking goal kicks and saving shots. 

“It started when I first started soccer and I kept going. People kept joking about it so I just kept going,” Orr said. “I warm up with Noah and work on goal kicks. If JV is playing, I’ll go warm up on the practice field.” 

Final time thoughts

Brown said after the win over Cathedral he was pleased with the way his squad moved the ball. BA won a majority of the 50/50 balls and it helped. 

“I think the effort and intensity was there from the girls. I was glad to see our attackers finish off more chances tonight,” Brown said. “We are in a good spot right now. Monday night’s game against Oak Forest will decide the district. Oak Forest is a really well coached team and their girls are extremely organized so they will be a challenge for sure. We know what we have to do.”