Lady Wildcats knock off Jones for South Division title

Lady Wildcats knock off Jones for South Division title

POPLARVILLE – Turnabout was fair play for the Pearl River Community College women Tuesday night as they avenged their only defeat of the season.
Sophomore Delaney Gustafson knocked in a goal just 20 seconds into the second sudden-death overtime period to give the Lady Wildcats a dramatic 2-1 victory over Jones County in a soccer showdown for the South Division championship.
With the win, PRCC (13-1 overall, 9-1 division) gets a bye through the first round of the MACJC State Tournament and will move to the tournament semifinals Oct. 31 at Hinds. JCJC (11-3, 8-2) will host either Hinds or Holmes in the opening round of the tournament next Tuesday.
The victory was almost a mirror image of the earlier meeting between the two teams on Sept. 18 at Ellisville, won by Jones 2-1 in double overtime.
“Jones was well-organized, and they put a lot of pressure on us the first 15 minutes,” said PRCC coach Jack Byrd. “We dealt with the pressure and the tide swung our way. We had an unlucky bounce that scored for them.
“But at halftime, I just told them, ‘let’s play our game. Don’t play into the hands of the big ball.’ And I thought we did that.”
Jones got its only goal of the game at the 32:06 mark, when Kelly Stubbington scored on a slow roller that bounced away from Lady Wildcat goalkeeper Shelby Koon.
However, PRCC got the equalizer at the 56:36 mark when sophomore Lyndsey Lee powered in an unassisted shot from the left side that bounced off the crossbar and across the line.
“I knew I had to be a game-changer,” said Lee, whose goal gave her 16 goals for the season, best in the state. “I just tried to keep it simple. We knew we had to shoot to score, so we just had to settle down and play our game.”
Pearl River’s Sarah Fortenberry had the best scoring chance in the first overtime, when Lady Bobcats keeper Holly Pike made a diving save on a hard shot from 25 yards out.
But Pike was out of position when Gustafson found herself open in front of the goal after Kira Morrell opened the period with a brilliant run down the right side off the opening kickoff of the second overtime.
Morrell got it to Lee on the left side of the net, Lee’s pass to Gustafson was right on the money and she buried the shot just inside the right post.
“I felt like I had to do something,” said Gustafson. “I saw Kira running hard down the line and I told myself, ‘I have to be in there for this ball, and this is our opportunity’
“At first, I thought she was going to cross it in, but she passed it to Lyndsey and it sort of ricocheted off her leg, and I was able to sneak it in.”
The Lady Wildcats had a 21-13 advantage in shots, but nine of the Lady Bobcats’ shots were on goal. Pike finished with nine saves, while Koon had eight stops.
The Pearl River men made it a sweep of the two games with a 3-0 victory. PRCC (13-2, 10-0) had already clinched the division title, and Jones (7-6-2, 5-4-1) was already assured of third place in the division.
The Wildcats scored all three of their goals in the first 16 minutes of play, and were never seriously threatened.
Tyler Polderman scored first at the 3:42 mark, assisted by Mark Mangum, then Sam Lawson got his first goal of the season on a pass from Romar Smith at 7:27, and Smith closed out the scoring at 15:10, assisted by Chance Bourdene.
JCJC will travel to Northwest next Tuesday for the first round of the state tournament, and PRCC will play the winner on Oct. 31 in the tournament semifinals at Hinds. The Wildcats will close the regular season on Friday at East Central.
PRCC SOCCER SUMMARIES
Tuesday at Poplarville
WOMEN
Pearl River 2,  Jones County 1
JONES COUNTY (11-3, 8-2 in South): Kelly Stubbington 1 goal. GK – Holly Pike 9 saves.
PEARL RIVER (13-1, 9-1 in South): Lyndsey Lee 1 goal, 1 assist; Delaney Gustafson 1 goal. GK – Shelby Koon 8 saves.
MEN
Pearl River 3, Jones County 0
JONES COUNTY (7-6-1, 5-4-1 in South): GK – Braxton Taylor 7 saves.
PEARL RIVER (13-2, 10-0 in South): Romar Smith 1 goal, 1 assist; Tyler Polderman 1 goal; Sam Lawson 1 goal; Mark Mangum 1 assist; Chance Bourdene 1 assist. GK – Grant Adam 5 saves; Michael Archbold.