Vicksburg sweeps rival Warren Central|[12/12/06]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2006



Diari Gilliam was by herself, singing a song and thinking about anything but soccer. Then the ball came flying her way and she broke her concentration long enough to take care of her day job.

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Gilliam scored two goals, and Holly Head added a third, in the final 22 minutes Monday night as the Vicksburg Missy Gators scored a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Warren Central.

Gilliam won a ball from WC keeper Molly Beth Jourdan and knocked it in for the go-ahead score with a little under 18 minutes to play, then headed in a corner kick from Becky Wilson for the clinching goal with five minutes remaining.

&#8220I’ve got songs in my head, and there’s the ball. I was aiming for it and I hit it,” Gilliam said of her final goal. &#8220I’m trying to relax. Nervousness will get you. That time, it worked.”

Warren Central (7-4-1, 1-1 Division 3-5A) took the lead 15 minutes into the game, and held it for nearly 45 minutes with solid defensive play. After VHS keeper Kelli Brewer was unable to corral Chelsa Jones’ high, bouncing shot and it went into the net for a 1-0 WC lead, the Lady Vikes blocked several Missy Gator attempts before they reached the goal.

Vicksburg (9-3-1, 1-1) outshot Warren Central 5-3 in the first half, but had another half-dozen scoring attempts thwarted by the Lady Vike defenders in the field.

&#8220I had us for two legitimate shots in the first half, and nothing great,” VHS coach Kevin Manton said. &#8220When they’re playing defense the way they’re playing, it makes our opportunities few and far between.”

Midway through the second half, though, the opportunities started coming fast and furious.

At the 18-minute mark of the second half, Vicksburg’s Daria Lawrence launched a throw-in toward the goal from the right sideline. The throw sailed just over Jourdan’s outstretched fingertips and was headed into the net by Head, who appeared to be standing on the goal line when she hit the ball. The goal stood, though, and Warren Central’s lead fell a few minutes later.

Head sent a long pass toward the goal. It hit the ground at the top of the box and bounced high in the air. Jourdan was unable to collect it before Gilliam knocked it in for an easy goal and a 2-1 lead.

&#8220I saw the ball and there it was. It landed on my thigh and I was smiling all the way in,” Gilliam said.

Warren Central’s Liza Kate Chaney hit the crossbar with a shot two minutes later, and the Lady Vikes didn’t get another quality shot on goal. Gilliam headed in Wilson’s corner kick at the 35-minute mark to make it 3-1 and the Missy Gators cruised home from there.

&#8220Vicksburg plays very direct and over the top, and we got out of our game,” Warren Central coach Kristin Gough said. &#8220After we got scored on we panicked and started playing more direct.”



Once, Warren Central dominated its rivalry with Vicksburg.

Not anymore. These days, it’s VHS that has the upper hand.

The Gators controlled the action from start to finish, outshot Warren Central 19-2, and beat the Vikings for the fourth straight time Monday night, 3-0 at Memorial Stadium.

&#8220Our talent is coming along at the right time, where theirs was a few years ago. That’s the way things work out,” said Vicksburg midfielder Cameron Curtis, who had a goal and an assist in Monday’s win.

Warren Central lost nine starters, and the head coach, from last season, and the talent gulf between itself and Vicksburg was evident throughout the game. The Gators consistently won balls, beat the Vikings on the dribble and generated scoring chances whereas WC had few.

WC (3-7-1, 1-1 Division 3-5A) didn’t take a shot until the 19th minute of the first half, then didn’t get another until only three minutes remained in the game.

The Vikings’ defense was able to contain the Gators (11-1, 2-0) for most of the second half, but their lack of offensive punch left little chance of a comeback once Vicksburg got ahead by a couple of goals.

&#82203-0 doesn’t sound like a good game, but the defense played a good game,” Warren Central coach Greg Head said.

Vicksburg missed several scoring opportunities early on, then tallied two goals in the last 10 1/2 minutes of the first half.

Curtis threaded a pass down the middle to Michael Cooper, who juked to the right against goal keeper Jacob Fischenich and tapped in the ball for a 1-0 lead. Ten minutes later, Curtis did the honors himself. Jay Hall won a ball from Fischenich inside the box and fired a shot off the keeper that ricocheted to Curtis in front. Curtis fired a shot into the open net to make it 2-0 moments before halftime.

&#8220It was real crowded and the ball popped out. I was able to put it in there,” Curtis said.

Ryan Ferrington added one final goal at the 13:30 mark of the second half when he dropped a shot over Fischenich from the left side of the 18-yard line. Vicksburg made a number of runs down the stretch, but couldn’t add to its total.

Fischenich made several diving saves to stymie the Gators and finished with 10 stops in the game.

&#8220They earned it,” WC defender Eric Richards said of the Gators’ win. &#8220We had a few letdowns on defense. That’ll be the game for you, and that’s what happened.”