Sudden death proved to be sudden life for Pearl River Community College in the opening round of the MACJC women’s soccer playoffs.
Abbi Henderson rocketed in a shot from 30 yards out to give the Lady Wildcats a stunning 1-0 overtime victory over East Central Tuesday night.
The victory sends PRCC (9-6) into a semifinal clash at 1 p.m. Saturday against Jones County at Perkinston. East Central finished its season 12-4.
“We knew we had to keep No. 9 (Sierra Maness) outside of the goal posts,” said Lady Wildcat coach Jack Byrd. “To do that we had to use the sideline as an extra defender.
“(PRCC sophomore) Kelsey Taylor has matched up with the best all year, and she did a fantastic job. We’ve worked on some overtime scenarios, and every player that went in affected the game.”
Maness came into the game with 16 goals this season, and she very nearly put the Lady Warriors ahead 10 minutes into the game, banging a shot off the crossbar.
But that would to be her only shot until late in the game, and while ECCC had 16 shots in all and five corner kicks, the Lady Warriors only had five shots on goal, and few of them were any danger.
“The defense worked really well in covering and support,” said Taylor, a sophomore defender from Hurley. “That was Coach’s rule: Pressure, cover and support, and I thought we did a great job of shutting each player down.”
Pearl River’s best scoring opportunity in regulation came 13 minutes into the second half.
Sarah Walden fired a shot from 25 yards out that East Central goalkeeper Kaitlyn Knuth had to dive to save. Knuth then had to quickly make another save as Kira Morrell got a quality shot for PRCC on the rebound.
The winning goal came at 2:02 of the first overtime, when Lacey Polderman drove the ball up the middle of the field, with plenty of space. She momentarily got her feet tangled with the ball, but was able to get a pass back to Henderson whose kick was in rhythm.
“We came out for the overtime with a lot of heart,” said Henderson, who led Pearl River with six shots. “It was just a routine shot, and the ball went in.”
PRCC now gets a third shot at Jones, which swept the season series between the two teams, winning 2-1 on Sept. 16 at Poplarville and 4-2 last week at Ellisville.
“There are other teams I’d rather have a third shot at,” Byrd said. “They’ve had a fantastic year, and we always say that it usually always comes down to us.”
PRCC SOCCER SUMMARY
MACJC State Tournament First Round
Tuesday at Decatur
Pearl River 1, East Central 0
PEARL RIVER (9-6): Abbi Henderson (Lacey Polderman) 92:06. GK – Karsen Gildea 5 saves.
EAST CENTRAL (12-3): GK – Kaitlyn Knuth 7 saves.
Halftime score: 0-0, tie.
End of regulation: 0-0, tie.
MACJC State Tournament Schedule
At Mississippi Gulf Coast, Perkinston
(Higher seeded team listed first)
11 a.m. – Holmes (13-1) vs. Gulf Coast (11-3-1)
1 p.m. – Jones County (13-1) vs. Pearl River (9-6)
4 p.m. – Hinds (8-3-1) vs. Jones County (8-7)
6 p.m. – Gulf Coast (14-1) vs. Southwest (13-5)
3 p.m. – Women, Holmes-Gulf Coast winner vs. Jones-Pearl River winner
5:30 p.m. – Men, Hinds-Jones winner vs. Gulf Coast-Southwest winner