• 86°

Vicksburg doubles up on struggling Natchez

[1/7/04]Eric Holland scored a goal with 12 minutes remaining in the second half as Vicksburg defeated Natchez 1-0 for a Division 6-5A win on Tuesday night.

Battling below-freezing temperatures, both teams looked sluggish throughout. The Gators (5-4-2, 1-0 Division 6-5A) controlled the ball on offense nearly the entire game but could not get their shots past Natchez goalie Aaron Ratliff. Vicksburg outshot Natchez 41-5.

“He’s just an incredible keeper,” Natchez coach Dennis Hogue said. “He’s a little bitty guy. He’s a buck-oh-five wet, but he just sees the play unfold so well.”

Vicksburg goalkeeper Jay Griffing showcased his moves as well.

With just under four minutes remaining, Griffing made a lunging, one-handed deflection on a long shot by Matthew Henderson to secure the win for the Gators. When the game ended, his teammates chased him down and piled on to celebrate.

“That could have changed things, and we could still be sitting here playing if it wasn’t for that save,” VHS coach Casey Smith said. “He probably only had two saves the entire game, but if he didn’t make that one we’re tied 1-1, and we’re looking at 10 and 10 in shootouts.”

Natchez played a closer game than when Vicksburg eased to a 5-2 win on Nov. 11. But the loss drops the Bulldogs (4-6, 1-2) out of playoff contention as they complete their division schedule.

“I was very pleased with how everything went except for the score,” Hogue said. “I thought both teams played great. I was real pleased with my guys.”

The game appeared to be headed for a 0-0 tie when Holland, who is tied for the team lead in goals, hit the game-winner.

On a pass into the box, several players scrambled for control of the ball. It finally slipped out to Holland, who punched it in from about 15 feet.

“It was kind of a jumbled ball that bounced off of one of their players and he just finished it up,” Smith said. “He’s had that knack.”

(G) Vicksburg 12, Natchez 0

Much like the last meeting between these teams, VHS dominated from the start.

Brandi Parker scored four goals and seven other Missy Gators lit up the scoreboard to give Vicksburg the win in its division opener.

Parker had been contained by double teams in recent games as the Missy Gators were limited to five total goals in their previous three games. But the all-around effort led to the offensive breakout against the Lady Dawgs.

“We had a team talk today, and I think since then it made everybody realize that we need to put more into practice and hustle more,” said Parker, who was switched to defense after notching a hat trick in the first half. “It’s not just a one-person deal. We’ve got to work together as a team.”

VHS scored four goals in the opening 15 minutes and soon backed off.

(B) Cathedral 5, St. Aloysius 1

Wyler Murray scored twice in less than 3 1/2 minutes midway through the second half, as Cathedral (6-2) totaled four goals in a waxing of St. Aloysius.

“We’ve never beaten St. Al since I’ve been on this soccer team,” Murray said. “To come out and have my best game against them is something I’ll remember.”

Murray broke a 1-1 halftime tie with a goal at the 21:07 mark after stabbing at a loose ball with his right foot and punching it past St. Al keeper Patrick Carroll.

Not satisfied with his first goal of the season, Murray added his second with 17:39 to play in the contest with a great individual effort to make it 3-1.

(G) St. Al 2, Cathedral 1

If it had not been for a first half penalty kick, both teams still might be playing this one.

In the bitter cold, shots on goal were tough to come by, but Lady Flash Andrea Harrison was able to score both goals in the victory.

“Being in this cold weather it was hard for them to get a lot of touches on the ball,” St. Al head coach Karen Carroll said.

Harrison scored off a penalty kick with 26:40 left in the first for the 1-0 halftime lead.

However the Lady Wave tied it up at the 30:28 mark when Alana Malone rainbowed her kick over keeper Lindsay Hall’s head.

Harrison added the final margin when she took a Haley Davis pass and screamed it over Cathedral keeper Lori Scruggs’ head into the net.