Vicksburg sweeps Warren Central|Prep soccer

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A big comeback, a close game, an exciting finish  — must’ve been just another night in the Vicksburg-Warren Central rivalry.

Becky Wilson scored two second-half goals off assists from Diari Gilliam, including the game-winner with 15 minutes to play, and Vicksburg survived a last-second free kick to beat their archrivals 2-1 Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium.

It was the eighth time in 10 meetings, dating back to 2003, that the Missy Gators and Lady Vikes have played a game that was decided by one goal or ended in a tie. This one wasn’t settled until Chelsea Duett’s free kick in stoppage time sailed high over the goal. The referee blew the whistle signaling the end of the game immediately after the kick.

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“I was hoping we could end it on that, because it would’ve been a good ending,” WC coach Janet McMaster said. “It comes down to who’s going to push harder and who wants it more, and Vicksburg got in there and got that goal that counted.”

Like most of their previous meetings, this game was a defensive slugfest. The teams combined for just three shots in the first half. One of those was a goal, by WC’s Shannon Richter at the 24-minute mark, that gave the Lady Vikes a 1-0 lead.

WC (3-2) was able to keep Vicksburg (3-3) in check for the first half, but the Missy Gators adjusted their lineup at halftime and immediately turned up the heat. Just two minutes into the second half, Wilson took a pass around the 40-yard line, dribbled toward the goal and around two defenders, and beat WC keeper Katie Humphries high to the right side for the game-tying goal.

Vicksburg controlled the action for much of the next 20 minutes, but couldn’t put the ball in the net. Finally, Gilliam sent a cross through the goal box. Humphries came out to make a play on it, but Wilson got a foot on the ball as the keeper smothered it. The ball popped loose, and Wilson was able to tap it into the empty net for a 2-1 lead.

“The second goal was Diari. I just followed it up,” Wilson said.

Vicksburg had a chance to put the game away five minutes later, but hit the post twice and had another shot knocked away by a defender during an intense 30-second flurry in front of the goal. That allowed WC to stay in the game and set up the dramatic finish with Duett’s free kick.

Afterward, Vicksburg coach Kevin Manton said the close call was what he’s come to expect when his team meets up with WC. So was the postgame scene.

“The only pressure they have is what they put on themselves, and this is personal,” he said. “They all know each other and they’re all friends. After the game you couldn’t get them off the field because they’re all hugging.”

Vicksburg boys beat WC, 4-0

Vicksburg continued its recent run of success against Warren Central with a dominant first half and a late finishing flourish.

Ryan Ferrington had a goal and two assists as the Gators (3-3) scored twice in each half to beat WC (2-3) for the seventh straight time. Paul Velazquez, Patrick Parker and Jordan Watson all added one goal apiece for Vicksburg, which outshot the Vikings 6-1 in the first half, and 10-2 for the game.

The win also snapped a three-game losing streak for Vicksburg, which coach Jason Bennett said was just as important as notching a win against the Vikings.

“I always break the season into three parts — pre-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas, and then January when you make your playoff push. We went out good on the pre-Thanksgiving part of the season,” Bennett said.

Vicksburg jumped out to a 2-0 halftime lead on goals by Velazquez and Parker. Warren Central kept it close for most of the second half, though, until Ferrington squirted a pass through the Viking defense with just over 11 minutes remaining. Watson gathered it in, and knocked it past Andrew Sandoz when the WC keeper — in a tough two-on-none situation — came out to make a play on the ball.

A few minutes later, Ferrington put the finishing touches on the victory with a goal from about 30 yards out.

“It’s obvious they had the better team. We just have to work on some positions. We have some young players that are learning the game, and it’s going to take a while,” WC coach Greg Head said.


Contact Ernest Bowker at