Breakdowns costly for Vicksburg in loss to Forest

Published 8:18 am Friday, December 23, 2016

The first two goals Vicksburg’s boys’ soccer team allowed Thursday stemmed from breakdowns in communication. The rest were akin to a total blackout.

Forest broke open a fairly close game by scoring four times in a nine-minute span midway through the second half, and went on to beat the Gators 7-1 in a matinee at Memorial Stadium.

Taylor Carnley led Forest (10-0-2) with three goals, while Randy Argueta and Chris Perez each had a goal and an assist.

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“I can’t even explain it. It’s like after the two unnecessary goals, the whole team shut down. The defense shut down, the mid was open, we had players watching the game while they were in the game. It was frustrating to watch. This was our worst half of the year,” Vicksburg coach Kristen Williams said.

Forest, a Class 3A program, improved its record to 56-16-2 under coach Trey Butts since the start of the 2013-14 season. Forest has won seven consecutive division championships and reached the Class 1A-2A-3A semifinals last season.

Vicksburg keeper Parker Demeranville made 11 saves, but some defensive breakdowns around him put the Gators behind early.

In the seventh minute, Perez’s corner kick sailed behind Demeranville and was headed into the goal by Carnley to give Forest a 1-0 lead.

In the 27th minute, Vicksburg’s Jayvionn Stribling played the ball back to the keeper and Demeranville had to catch it. That is a violation that resulted in an indirect kick from just 6 yards away.

Because the ball was placed so close to the goal, near the spot where penalty kicks are normally taken, the Gators seemed to think it was a penalty kick and did not get set on defense.

Adrian Quintero tapped the ball to Argueta, who easily knocked it past Demeranville for what amounted to an uncontested point-blank shot, and the Bearcats led 2-0 going into halftime.

The worst was still to come for the Gators (3-5). Ricky Quesada and Perez scored two goals 60 seconds apart in the 51st and 52nd minutes to start the avalanche that blew the game open. Carnley found the net in the 55th and 60th minutes as Forest turned a competitive game into a 6-0 laugher.

“We had the talk and saw the breakdown during halftime, then they came back on the field and did the exact same thing,” Williams said.

Vicksburg did seem to compose itself after Carnley completed his hat trick, and even controlled the pace for much of the last 20 minutes.

Five of the Gators’ seven shots, as well as their only goal, all came in the final stretch. Greg Hayden put them on the board with a breakaway goal in the 68th minute, after Micheal James had missed a penalty kick in the 64th.

“I think our whole entire thing is confidence. Those two goals, I think the confidence went down, but they started to communicate more,” Williams said. “We just need to build our communication skills for sure.”

Another bright spot on a dismal day for the Gators was the big picture. They finished last season with one win and one tie, but already have three wins heading into the holiday break and the division schedule in January.

Vicksburg will next play Jan. 3 at home against Raymond. Its next division game is Jan. 6 at Ridgeland.
The Gators also have two division wins against hapless Lanier, which has them in first place for now and in a good position to make the playoffs if they can beat a struggling Canton team twice in January.

“I think we’ll do good in district. We’re playing Forest and Brandon and different teams that have really good soccer clubs. They have the experience that we don’t have,” Williams said of the Gators’ early schedule. “We’re just trying to continuously build the program. But one win and one tie last year, and then this year we have three (wins). It’s already better than last 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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