Vicksburg connection vaults Hinds C.C. into regionals

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 1, 2002

[11/01/02]Hinds Community College’s women’s soccer program just keeps on kicking.

After winning their fifth State Championship with convincing wins over Jones Community College, 6-0, and Pearl River, 4-1, the Lady Eagles look to continue the momentum when they face Bossier Parish Community College in Raymond today at 4 p.m.

With a chance to win their fifth region championship, the Lady Eagles are practically bubbling with confidence.

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“We played (Bossier) once before, and we played horrible and beat them 1-0,” said freshman midfielder Cassie Griffing, a Vicksburg High graduate. “They are not that good, and when they come here, we know we can beat them.”

Griffing has a reason to be confident other than her team’s perfect 15-0 record. She has scored 12 goals through the regular season with 10 assists, and has added two goals and four assists in the state playoffs.

Couple Griffing’s hot foot with her former Missy Gator teammate, forward Michelle Beatty, who has 14 goals and six assists, and the Lady Eagles look to be primed for steamrolling their way to the district playoffs.

“It’s looking good with me and Michelle,” Griffing said. “We’ve worked together well, and it has carried over from high school to college.”

Even with the dominance of her scorers, Lady Eagles coach Patti Johnson is quick to point out that the team’s success stems from a combined team effort.

“Everyone is stepping up. It’s not just one person here, or one person there, we rely on the entire group,” Johnson said. “We don’t have to rely on one individual.”

Johnson will also note that the Lady Eagles have been fortunate to receive tremendous individual effort on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Sweeper Melanie Mendrop, an ex-Warren Central standout, has been the focal point of a defense that has allowed only five goals all season, with only one of those goals coming in the state playoffs.

Mendrop was also the key reason the Lady Eagles were able to shut out Pearl River’s Ashley Chrisman, the leading scorer in the region.

“She’s wonderful,” Johnson said.

With a win, Hinds would meet Young Harris Community College on Nov. 9 in Georgia with a district championship on the line.

“We have to play 100 percent, give everything we have and leave it all on the field,” Johnson said.