St. Al soccer beats Cathedral 6-0

Published 9:42 am Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The past month has been a time of hard work and upheaval for the St. Aloysius girls soccer team.

After the school joined the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools in late July, the soccer program was thrown into action three months earlier than expected because the MAIS plays a fall season rather than the winter one used by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

The move resulted in a coaching change. Don Rowland wasn’t able to adjust his work schedule, so boys coach Scott Mathis took over. Players are being split between two or three different sports and activities.

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So far, though, the Lady Flashes are making it all look easy.

Sydney Mathis had two goals and two assists, Madelyn Polk scored twice, and St. Al clobbered Cathedral 6-0 Monday at Mlakar Field in Bovina. It was the team’s second win in as many games this season. They’ve outscored their opponents 17-1.

“I was told when we were at the coaches’ meeting that it’s ours to lose,” Scott Mathis said of the Lady Flashes’ potential. “Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. We’ll see. I take it one game at a time. That’s all we can do. I just tell them don’t play to their level. Play your game. As long as they can do that, we’ll win every game we need to win.”

Polk scored off a corner kick two minutes into Monday’s game, and Brooklyn Breithaupt made it 2-0 about 90 seconds later when she gathered in an offensive rebound and softly lifted a 10-yard shot over the keeper.

Sydney Mathis and Polk scored before the end of the half for a 4-0 lead, and Mathis tacked on another in the 67th minute. Shelby Bottin had the final goal, courtesy of a nifty give-and-go breakaway with Mathis in the 77th minute.

Sara McDaniel also had two assists and Jaleigh Ehrgott had one.

The Lady Flashes slowed down after their fast start, but were in control the whole way. Cathedral did not have a shot on goal.

“It could have been better. We rushed it and didn’t pass, and whenever we got our passes we just kind of kicked it,” Sydney Mathis said. “We played down to their level.”

Games have been the easy part for St. Al. Getting to them has been difficult.

Several players are also participating in softball and/or cheerleading, forcing them to split their time and attention several different ways.

It’s been a juggling act not only for them, but also for St. Al’s coaches. Mathis has had to deal with absent players and rework the practice schedule to avoid conflicts. The soccer team will only practice twice this week. Several games on the schedule are marked with an asterisk, with a note at the bottom of the page indicating that the date could change because of softball games the same day.

“It’s been a lot of work for the parents, and for the kids. I have two softball players that were out, and another one that didn’t show up today because she had something else going on at school,” Mathis said.

“Being that our season changed, and it’s changed so fast, we had to adjust to the changes. Everyone’s done a great job. We’ve got to all work together, and if we don’t it’s not going to work out.”

So far, it is working out.

The Lady Flashes will play Bayou Academy, a team it beat 11-1 last week, in its next game next Monday at Mlakar Field. Another home game against Lee Academy follows two days later as St. Al enters the heart of its district schedule.

Scott Mathis said he and his players are excited about the season’s possibilities.

“I’ve got to contend with select soccer, with church on Wednesdays, and with this. In the end, the girls are all excited to go into this season knowing they actually have an opportunity to take it all,” Mathis said.

“For the team sports, (championships) are very few and far between at St. Al. We want to change that in soccer, and I think we’ll do that this year.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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