Gators keying on beating WC

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 11, 2004

[11/11/04]Paul Hanley didn’t hesitate when asked what the Vicksburg soccer team’s goals were for the season.

“Beat Warren Central,” said Hanley, the senior team captain. “This is my fifth year being on the team, and I think we beat Warren Central once since I’ve been on the team.

“I’m looking forward to a winning record this year, which is something we haven’t really done, ever.”

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Hanley echoes the new attitude of the Gators, who are ripe for a turnaround under new coach Jason Bennett.

A former Warren Central player, Bennett brings in a fresh approach, complete with discipline, that quickly has won over the players and parents.

“I saw them play a couple of times last year, and I just feel like they have a different attitude all together, about everything,” Bennett said.

Bennett, also the VHS cross country coach, has conditioned the players with running since the beginning of school in August.

VHS has its eyes on defeating Warren Central, winning the district title and advancing out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in years.

“Everybody seems to be getting along real well this year,” Hanley said. “I think it’s really going to click.”

Missy Gators changing styles

For the past eight years, Vicksburg’s girls soccer team has had a dominant scorer.

It began with Kristin Chapman who set a state record for career goals. Then came Brandi Parker, who broke Chapman’s record in her senior year last season. The two combined to bring five state championships to Vicksburg from 1996-2002.

This year, no superstar is stepping in to fill Parker’s shoes and coach Kevin Manton is looking to change his approach.

“We’re going to be a different team. We’re kind of changing what we’re doing,” Manton said, adding that expectations are still high for the season. “But losing 40 goals a year for the last four years, it’s going to have to fall on somebody else’s shoulders. I think we may be a better team because when we had (Parker), we relied on her.”