FULTON — The Lady Wildcats didn’t let an early deficit deter them Thursday in their MACJC Tournament opener at Itawamba. Pearl River’s women’s soccer team conceded an early goal but rallied to pull out a 2-1 victory against the Lady Indians.
Pearl River (8-7-1) now advances to face rival Jones College in the semifinals. The second round matchup is set for 5 p.m. Saturday in Ellisville.
“I think the girls are buzzing right now,” PRCC coach Jack Byrd said. “Even though it was a one goal game, it was against a team that beat us 4-1 to open the season.”
Addison Meadows opened the scoring for ICC (9-5-1) in the first half.
“They capitalized on a mental lapse off a corner,” Byrd said, “but I could immediately see from the goalkeeper all the way forward they were shouting ‘keep your head up.’ I knew we still had a chance to win.”
Byrd’s gut feeling proved to be correct. Not long after the opener, Rena Gordon (Clarendon, Jamaica) found herself in alone on the keeper and didn’t miss, netting her 17th goal of the year.
“She cut it in and beat the defender and then opened her hips and put it in the side net,” Byrd said. “She showed a lot of class with that goal.”
Sarah Havens (Hurley; East Central) scored what proved to be the game winner from a difficult angle in the left corner. ICC attempted to clear the ball before it crossed the goal line but the officials ruled the shot registered for the decisive goal.
Candyce Martin (Gautier) made six saves, including one in the final 90 seconds where she was forced to charge out of the box and make a sliding stop to preserve the victory.
Pearl River keeper Candyce Martin, shown making a save against Gulf Coast, turned away six shots in PRCC's 2-1 win at Itawamba on Thursday. The victory sent the Lady Wildcats into the MACJC Tournament's semifinal round. (BRETT RUSS/PRCC ATHLETICS)
Now the Lady Wildcats are tasked with knocking off the tournament’s host in JC.
“I feel the belief is growing,” Byrd said. “I know the girls are looking forward to Saturday and hopefully taking care of business.”
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