Gators blank Richland|Prep soccer

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 24, 2009

By his own estimate, a lack of execution has cost coach Jason Bennett’s Vicksburg Gators two or three wins already this season.

On Monday afternoon, some flawless execution let them put a notch in the win column.

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The Gators scored two goals in a 90-second span late in the first half, off a corner kick and a perfect pass and juke in traffic, and shut out Richland 2-0 at Memorial Stadium.

“We connected on a few more passes and we finished our chances,” Bennett said. “It was executing. It was finishing. That’s why we’re 5-2-1 instead of 8-0 right now, is because we haven’t been finishing.”

The victory gave Vicksburg a needed lift heading into next Tuesday’s Division 4-6A opener against Warren Central. WC, which does not play this week, is 6-0 and has not allowed a goal yet this season. With a traditionally strong Clinton team looming later in the division schedule, the Vicksburg-WC matchup takes on added importance.

“It puts you in the driver’s seat for that first or second spot,” Bennett said. “I’m optimistic because you have all the people we have returning and Clinton has lost a few games already. But Warren Central is stronger, too.”

The brief offensive flurry by the Gators provided the only excitement in Monday’s game. Each side took turns chasing down long boom balls with little success, and most of the contest was played between the boxes.

Around the 25-minute mark of the first half, though, Vicksburg started to put some pressure on Richland keeper J.T. Windham. They had a series of three corner kicks in a two-minute span, and at the 27-minute mark, Mack Middleton headed one off them past Windham for the game’s first goal. Tony Davidson was credited with the assist.

A minute and a half later, Perry Tolliver was dribbling up the left side when he threaded a cross through several Richland defenders and onto the foot of Daniel Sluis. Sluis, a sophomore, juked one final defender and put a grounder into the left corner of the net to give Vicksburg a 2-0 lead.

The Gators’ defense did enough from there to make the lead stand up. Richland had four shots on goal in the game — none in the first half — and VHS keeper Taylor Brocato only had to make two saves.


Contact Ernest Bowker at