Parker, McCain spark Missy Gators to win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Vicksburg’s Lucy Matthews (21) battles with an Ocean Springs player for possession of the ball during the Missy Gators’ 2-0 win on Tuesday in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. (Jenny SevcikThe Vicksburg Post)

[1/28/04]A pair of Missy Gators who began Tuesday night on the bench propelled Vicksburg High to a 2-0 win over visiting Ocean Springs (6-10-2) in the opening round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

Brandi Parker, the state’s career goal-scoring leading, spent the first 20 minutes of the game debating whether to test a gimpy knee.

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When she entered the game, it took the scoring sensation all of five minutes to head in a goal, which proved to be the game winner.

“She didn’t think she was going to play until Saturday,” said Vicksburg coach Kevin Manton, who is making a run at a sixth state championship. “When the game started, she went inside and got dressed. I didn’t even know if she had her bag.

“It’s frustrating for someone who has played for as long as she had, and scored as many goals as she has to sit on the sidelines. Heck, five minutes after she gets on the field she scores a goal.”

The goal with 15 minutes to play in the first half stood until late in the second half very late.

On an Ocean Springs shot 10 minutes into the second half, Vicksburg goalie Megan Humphries made a diving save and was kicked in the neck. Humphries was taken by ambulance to River Region Medical Center in Vicksburg. Her status for Saturday’s game against Gulfport is unknown.

After a 30-minute delay, backup goalie Kristy McCain entered the game and stopped six Lady Greyhounds’ shots, including a one-on-one breakaway with 10 minutes to play in the game.

“I took it one ball at a time and did what I could,” said McCain, a junior. “They stepped up in the last 10 minutes or so and that was pretty scary.”

Vicksburg (14-6-1) put the game away three minutes later when seventh-grader Diari Gilliam slipped in a goal on an assist from Parker.

“We gave them too many free kicks and kind of beat ourselves in that regard,” Ocean Springs coach Sara Evans said. “We played hard, but it ended up being the last game for our seniors and I hate it for them.”

While Ocean Springs was eliminated, the Missy Gators will shift focus to Saturday afternoon. The Missy Gators will play Gulfport on the road. Game time has yet to be decided. A win would put VHS into the South State championship game.

“Ocean Springs lost to both of them 1-0,” Manton said. “So we’re going to have a tough time.”