Missy Gators cruise after sluggish start

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 26, 2005

[1/26/05] A few minutes after scoring a goal Tuesday night against Hattiesburg, Vicksburg’s Lucy Matthews called out and waved to her mother in the stands. Then, she ran up the field, kicked up her heels and let out another shout of joy.

Pretty soon, all of the Missy Gators were following suit.

Vicksburg exploded for four goals in the final 20 minutes Tuesday, turning what had been a tight first-round playoff game into a 4-0 rout.

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“I was so excited. I hardly ever score, and that was just a one-time deal,” a laughing Matthews said of her celebration. “That was a little clicky thing, whatever you call it.”

Matthews, Diari Gilliam and Jill Rush all scored during Vicksburg’s onslaught. Holly Head had a goal and an assist as the Missy Gators advanced to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs to face Biloxi on Saturday.

The first 60 minutes of Tuesday’s game passed without a goal for either team. Both sides had enough chances to keep things interesting, but neither could seem to find that last push to get the ball in the net.

Finally, just after the midway point of the second half, Head changed that.

Laura Johnston threaded a perfect pass through 30 yards of open ground and a host of defenders, and Head got it in front of the net. Head then placed a slow shot just across the mouth of the goal, catching the side of the net to put VHS ahead 1-0.

“We should have scored earlier,” Manton said. “I didn’t tell them, but sometimes against teams like that, once you score then it just happens.”

Four minutes later, Head hit Matthews with a pass in front of the net and Matthews roofed a shot into the goal to truly begin Vicksburg’s barrage.

Rush knocked in a rebound goal with 11 minutes to play and Gilliam dribbled past the Hattiesburg keeper at the top of the goal box before scoring to make it 4-0 with 5 minutes remaining.

“Once they got that first goal, it kind of collapsed us,” said Hattiesburg coach Casey Smith, who coached the Vicksburg boys last season and is assisted by former VHS softball coach LaQuita Smith.