Lady Vikes blank Missy GatorsWarren Central boys take down Vicksburg for third straight time

Published 11:47 am Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sometimes, even when the percentages aren’t in your favor, victory is still possible.

Warren Central (7-5-2) peppered Vicksburg’s goal box with 21 shots. Three went in and WC’s defense, led by goalkeeper MacKenzie Page with her seventh shutout of the season, made it stick in a 3-0 victory Tuesday at Viking Stadium.

The win doesn’t help Warren Central’s playoff case, as it’s a non-division game and a warmup for Division 3-6A rematch on Jan. 11, but it’s an important step and a boost of confidence.

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“We needed a boost of confidence going into the Christmas break that we could put the ball in the back of the net and tonight helped us realize we could put the ball in the back of the net,” WC coach Trey Banks said. “We made it our goal after our loss to Pearl that we’d have four wins going into Christmas break, which would make us 10-5. Tonight starts that.”

In warmups, Banks noticed first-year Vicksburg goalkeeper Torri Hayden didn’t cleanly catch shots. He encouraged his offense to apply maximum pressure on her.

It worked.

The first goal, in the 15th minute, was set up by an aggressive run by Hannah Miller toward the goal on the sideline. She fired a shot and it ricocheted off a Vicksburg defender into the back of the net as the Missy Gators desperately tried to clear the ball.

“Warren Central realized that Torri (Hayden) was knocking the ball down rather than catching it and they started pressuring our goalie,” Vicksburg coach Kori Babb said. “Instead of our defense protecting our goalie, they let their marks get away from them.”

The second goal came five minutes later, as Amanda Boleware found the back of the net off a rebound.

Vicksburg had its chances in the first half, as Mikayla Banks and Tabitha Hayden engineered some breakaways for one-on-one matchups with Page. But the attempts sailed wide or over the net. Another big opportunity on a corner kick was squelched by WC’s defense.

In the second half, down 2-0, Vicksburg’s best opportunity of the night went, like the others, awry. The Missy Gators (5-9) appeared to score on a direct kick, but the officials ruled them offsides, taking the goal off the board.

“We killed ourselves because we had ample opportunities to tie the game and take the lead,” Babb said. “We had a couple of 1-vs.-1s down there and a couple of corner kicks we didn’t capitalize on. This doesn’t mean anything, except toward the record. Hopefully in January, on our field, we can fix our mistakes.”

The Lady Vikes, with time ticking down in the contest, added a third score as Kara Martin booted home an unassisted goal.