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Live Oak vs DSHS girls soccer Anne Chevalier Mackenzie Covington

Denham Springs High's Anne Chevalier (12) tries to shield Live Oak's Mackenzie Covington (9) away from the ball.

DENHAM SPRINGS - Heading into the new year and with the start of district play right around the corner, Denham Springs is still searching for some consistency.

After a slow start to the season where the Lady Jackets opened with four straight losses and scored just a single goal, they caught fire after Thanksgiving, swept through the Walker High tournament and defeated Ponchatoula to rebound with four consecutive wins and outscore their opponents, 14-1.

Denham Springs then dropped two matches to Baton Rouge and Parkview Baptist before entering a streak of three straight draws against Live Oak, East Ascension, and Dutchtown.

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Live Oak vs DSHS girls soccer Ayla Zier

Denham Springs High's Ayla Zier (5) takes a throw-in.

In a district with three teams inside the Top 15 - St. Joseph’s, Walker, and Baton Rouge, time is dwindling for the Lady Jackets to find its groove with two matches remaining before the start of league play.

The Yellow Jackets were 24th in the LHSAA’s most recent unofficial power rating, much lower than where the team wants to be.

The good news for DSHS is that good results against that tough schedule will enable the Lady Jackets to continue a steady climb.

“We’re not getting complacent, that’s the big thing,” coach Layci Patterson said. “We’re going to keep fighting and we’re going to keep pushing. We’re a little bit farther back in the power rankings from where we want to be.

“But scores from girls’ soccer games have been very sporadic based on competition,” Patterson said. “We’re still in it. Our big thing is that we don’t much attention to our competition right now as we are at playing our game and our game only. We’re not going to play down a level and we’re not going to psych ourselves out.”

“We’re going to start picking it up,” defender Gueslee Brownell said. “We had a slow start to the season and we keep drawing. I think we’ll start picking it up knowing that we can hang with the higher-ranked teams. So, I think we can pick it up in the second half of the season.”

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Denham Springs girls soccer coach Layci Patterson

Denham Springs soccer coach Layci Patterson instructs her team during a match earlier this season against Dutchtown.

The biggest factor working in Denham’s favor is the team’s great chemistry and improved communication.

“As a team, we’re pretty close,” Brownell said. “It definitely helps to have people you’re close with on the field.”

“This group of girls are very close, and I want them to be very team-orientated,” Patterson said. “I want support from every angle, both on the field and off the field. I want them to be good on the outside, but I want them to be just as good on the inside.”

Tactically, Patterson is striving for her team to be more aggressive with their shot selection.

“We’ve been working on finishing a lot,” Patterson said. “(We’ve been) showing them that they don’t have to be so close, we can also take shots from far out because they take great shots.”

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