New Hope rally ends Vicksburg’s season

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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Before Monday’s match with New Hope in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs, Vicksburg coach Karen Carroll wanted her team playing with the wind at their backs in the first half.
The results were excellent. Vicksburg raced to a quick 4-1 halftime lead, led by four goals by Mikayla Banks.
Tacking into the wind in the second half proved to be harder waters to navigate for the Missy Gators. Effie Morrison scored four second-half goals, including the deciding shot with less than two minutes left, to lead New Hope to a come-from behind, 5-4 win.
This one is going to hurt for Vicksburg for a while.
“Disappointing, disappointing, disappointing,” Vicksburg coach Karen Carroll said. “I really thought we had this game. We’re usually a better second-half team, so I chose the wind first, with us. I didn’t want to get behind two or three (goals) and not have a comeback. It’s unbelievable to have them down 4-1 at the half and lose it. I told them at the half to play good defense and keep the ball above the half line and we’ve got this game. I don’t even know what to say.”
In the first half, the Missy Gators could do no wrong with the icy north wind behind their goalbox. Banks dominated and Vicksburg’s defense held New Hope’s potent offense in check. Tuva Rasmussen scored on an assist by Morrison to get New Hope on the scoreboard.
The Lady Trojans (9-2-1) owned the second half. Morrison scored her first goal from about 10 yards out to cut the deficit to 4-2 in the 53rd minute. Vicksburg had a few opportunities on the New Hope side of the field, but passes wobbled in the stiff breeze unpredictably like drunken satellites re-entering the atmosphere and the Missy Gators couldn’t capitalize against an emboldened New Hope defense.
Every Morrison goal hit Vicksburg’s momentum like a body blow. Her second goal was on a one-on-one, where she eluded Vicksburg’s defense for a 5-yard shot into the back of the net in the 65th minute.
Five minutes later, she turned a one-on-one into another goal, ripping a shot past the right post to tie the match.
After Vicksburg’s final opportunity, on a shot by Banks, died in the arms of New Hope goalkeeper MacKenzie Harvey, Morrison shook free of Vicksburg’s defense and ripped the game-winner from point-blank range on the left side of the goalbox.
“I didn’t have a lot of conversation with my team at halftime. It was more shaking my head because I knew they weren’t playing up to our ability,” New Hope coach Mary Nagy said. “I told them ‘I don’t have any words for you. Your actions have to inspire you and you have to inspire each other.’ They decided they were going to do this and they never hung their heads down. I can’t say enough about their character because they weren’t going to quit. I’m really proud of them. Effie is just a phenomenal player and there aren’t many players who can match up with her on one-vs.-one at all. You put her on one-vs.-one and it’s on.”
The good news for Vicksburg is the entire roster will be back next season. The loss will serve to motivate the Missy Gators next year as they aim to defend their division title, their first since 2005, and go farther in the playoffs.
“It’s going to be a lot of motivation for us next year,” Vicksburg midfielder Elizabeth Ressequet said. “We’re just going to have to get back to practice and get better. We had the wind against us in the second half and we all got wore out.”

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