Wildcats drop Bobcats for South Division title; Lady ''Cats 4-3 winners

October 20, 2011 - 1:02pm -- braswell

POPLARVILLE Pearl River Community College women and men soccer teams enter this weekend MACJC State Tournament at Holmes CC in Ridgeland as the South Division No. 1 seeds after the Wildcats trimmed rival Jones County 4-2 to claim the division title here Wednesday. The division champ Lady Wildcats, who opened Wednesday action with a 4-3 win over JCJC, won the women South title Oct. 8 with their 1-0 win over Mississippi Gulf Coast. The River feat marked the only second time in the 11-year history of the programs that both squads won South Division titles in the same year. PRCC previously accomplished the feat in 2003 under then-head coach Adam Breerwood, who went on to guide the Wildcats to their only state championship that season. Pearl River women have now won seven division championships, including state titles in 2005 and 2009; while its men now boast three South titles and a state championship. That your goal when you start the season, said third-year coach Jack Byrd, who heads the women program. To win state championships, youve got to get into the (state) tournament and we did it in pretty historical fashion this year. Coach (Paul) Martin (men head) did an outstanding job with the guys in his first year with us, he continued. It looks like well have a pretty full slate in Ridgeland this weekend. The Lady Wildcats open their state tournament action against North No. 2 Holmes at 4 p.m. Saturday, while the Wildcats immediately follow against North No. 2 Itawamba at 7 p.m. The North No. 1 Hinds women open tournament action with a 10 a.m. match up against South No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast, while the host Holmes men, North No. 1, face South No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast at 1 p.m. Saturday winners will face off on Sunday at 12 noon (women) and 3 p.m. (men) in the MACJC title bouts. Pearl River split with Holmes in previous meetings played Sept. 30 in Ridgeland with the Lady Wildcats taking a 6-0 shutout and the Wildcats falling 2-1, while PRCC swept ICC August 27 in Poplarville before splitting Sept. 17 on the road. Pearl River won 3-1 (women) and 2-0 (men) in Poplarville, while the Lady Wildcats were 4-1 winners and the Wildcats 3-2 losers in Fulton. Against Mississippi Gulf Coast, The River split Sept. 13 in Perkinston (1-0 women winners, 2-1 men losers) before sweeping Oct. 8 in Poplarville with 1-0 and 2-0 women and men victories, respectively. After Wednesday sweep over JCJC, the Lady Wildcats finished the regular season at 14-1 overall and 8-0 in division play, while the Wildcats wrapped at 10-4-1 and 6-1-1. Both JCJC squads ended their seasons at 9-5 and 4-4 (women) and 8-4-2 and 5-2-1 (men). In Wednesday women game, Jones grabbed a 1-0 lead when Danica Roberts scored off an assist by Haley Crosby at the 39:04 mark of the first half, but Emmaleigh Davis, a University of Memphis transfer who prepped at Resurrection Catholic High in Pascagoula, tied it up less than a minute later off a penalty kick. Stephanie Fratesi out of Washington High in Leland put the Lady Wildcats up 2-1 with a goal with 22:24 left in the half, but Temple Hughs goal at the 18:39 mark knotted things at 2-2 and that stalemate remained intact at the intermission. Davis penalty kick at the 27:50 mark of the second half regained the lead for Pearl River, but JCJC Cassidy Brinson booted in the Lady Bobcats final goal of the game to tie things at 3-3 with 19:50 left. Davis missed on a penalty kick with 18:17 left, but booted the game-winning goal at the 5:58 mark off an assist by Carleigh Holley of Tupelo High. In the men game, James Zanelli of Essex, U.K., got the Wildcats on the board with a goal at the 41:21 mark of the first half before Tyler Hatch out of East Central High in Hurley added a score with 31:54 left before the break off an assist by Garrett Head of Oak Grove High. Zanelli padded PRCC 2-0 lead at the half with a goal with 40:12 left, but the Bobcats Guiliano Mancini made things interesting when he scored back-to-back goals at the 30:10 and 29:15 marks to pull JCJC to within one. Hatch scored his second goal with 11:48 left to make it 4-2 as it ended. Following the state tournament, the Region 23 Tournament is set for Oct. 30-31 (Saturday and Sunday) at the MACJC women champion home field. The Lady Wildcats have won state championships in 2005 under then-coach Patrick Hayes and 2009 under current coach Jack Byrd, while the Wildcats copped its only MACJC title in 2003.

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