Missy Gators come up short against Ridgeland

Published 12:23 am Wednesday, January 10, 2024

RIDGELAND — On a cold, blustery night in Central Mississippi, the Vicksburg Missy Gators kept running into the wind in the MHSAA Region 2-6A girls’ soccer playoff race.

Shirley Rivera and Alana Bratton each scored a goal, and Ridgeland held off a late push by the Missy Gators to secure a 2-1 victory Tuesday night.

“The girls had a good effort. We had opportunities and didn’t finish, but it was a great game. Both teams played very well,” Vicksburg coach Maurice Gilliam said. “I see so much improvement. They’re getting better every game. It showed tonight. It’s just unfortunate that the score didn’t show how we played.”

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Vicksburg (4-7, 1-3 Region 2-6A) lost its second game in a row, and has dropped three of its four region games. The top four among the six teams in the league qualify for the Class 5A playoffs, so the Missy Gators will need to win two of their four remaining region contests to make it.

Up next is a home game vs. Columbus on Friday at 5:30 p.m.

“We’ll see all the teams again, so it’ll be some better results for us. We’ve got to beat one of them,” Gilliam said. “I think it’s an encouraging result. If you look at the scores of all the teams, they’re pretty close. They’re all 1-0, 2-1. I think at the end of the day, whoever wants it the most is going to win.”

Rivera put Ridgeland (5-6-2, 2-2) ahead in the 27th minute, when she popped a short shot over the shoulder of VHS keeper Lili Kistler.

Bratton made it 2-0 in the 51st minute. Alyssa Barnes fed a pass ahead to Bratton, who sprinted past the final defender and grounded a shot past Kistler.

“It was nothing that would make you jump out of your seat. They got lucky on us, especially that first goal. We misdirected the ball and they got us,” Gilliam said of Ridgeland’s two goals.

Falling behind seemed to light a fire under the Missy Gators. In the 59th minute, Amari Johnson took a pass just across midfield and stayed a step ahead of the defense all the way to the keeper. Kamiyah Fultz stopped Johnson’s initial shot, but the Missy Gators’ forward knocked in the rebound to cut it to 2-1.

Vicksburg controlled the action for the final 20 minutes and had several scoring chances, but couldn’t convert any of them into the tying goal.

“It turned the tide and got momentum going our way. We got a couple more opportunities, just unfortunately didn’t finish. That’s something we’re still working on,” Gilliam said.

Boys
Ridgeland 7, Vicksburg 0
Jared Aguilar had a goal and three assists to lead Ridgeland (9-2-4, 3-1 Region 2-6A) to a mercy-rule shortened win over Vicksburg (3-11-2, 0-4).

Brayan Pelayo and J. Pinto Marquez added two goals apiece for Ridgeland, while Maynor Paz had three assists. The Titans scored four goals in the first half and three more in the first 20 minutes of the second.

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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