PCA begins quest for state crown|[9/29/05]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2005

Chris Etheridge admits its hard not to look ahead to Saturday and think about the possibilities.

A few more days and four measly little wins later, and Etheridge and his Porters Chapel Lady Eagles will be state champions. Then the reality sets in, and Etheridge focuses again.

It’s nice to dream, but unless the Lady Eagles perform at this week’s Academy-A state tournament, the state championship they’ve chased all year will remain just that – a dream.

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“If I said no, I’d be lying,” Etheridge said of thinking about winning a state title. “And if you interview these girls, there’s an air and a feeling that something special is about to happen. But we still have to go do it … We have four games to win in Ridgeland, Mississippi, and that’s our priority right now.”

PCA (24-10) began its quest this morning with a 4-2 win over Wayne Academy. PCA advanced to face Amite this afternoon at Freedom Park in Ridgeland, and moved a step closer to hoisting the state championship trophy.

And with the way the Lady Eagles are playing right now, they seem even closer than that.

PCA rolled to the North State title last week, going 5-0 while outscoring their opponents 40-9 and earning the No. 1 seed for the state tournament. The Lady Eagles have won 12 straight, and 14 of 15, and are showing no signs of slowing down.

“We’ve always been a team that can hit the ball and put it in play. It finally came through for us last weekend,” Etheridge said. “We didn’t play a close game, and it’s because the hitting came around.”

PCA also has what Etheridge feels is a favorable draw. The toughest potential opponent is Franklin, which finished second in the Overall tournament in 2004 and won the South State title this season. If the seedings hold, the two teams wouldn’t meet until Saturday morning, in the third game of the winners’ bracket in the double elimination tournament.

“Franklin is a team you can put as your litmus test. If you can beat Franklin, you know you’ve done something,” Etheridge said. “If it comes down to us and Franklin, awesome. If it comes down to us and anybody, really. Franklin has beaten us the last couple of years, and it’d be nice to get an opportunity to repay that. But all eight teams can beat anybody on a given day.”