PCA winding down first season with rebooted soccer program

Published 12:44 am Tuesday, January 23, 2024

At halftime Monday, it looked like Porter’s Chapel Academy’s soccer team might have a chance to earn its first win of the season.

By the end of the second half, it just looked like a lot of its other games.

Landon Oakes and Cason Macke scored two goals apiece, and Central Hinds scored seven times in the second half to pull away from Porter’s Chapel and win 8-0 at Sports Force Parks.

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“They just fell apart. We didn’t stay in formation. We were bunching up and running everywhere. We didn’t get the calls that we should have. Three of those goals it was just our goalie and three of them on that side of the field, which should have been offsides and nobody called it,” PCA coach Samantha Bailey said. “But you can’t bank on those calls. You’ve got to play the game, you’ve got to play your position.”

PCA did not field a soccer team last season because of a lack of players, but started back for 2023-24. It’s a pattern the program has followed for the past decade, and Bailey admitted the first season of this latest reboot has been difficult.

The Eagles field a co-ed team but play in the MAIS’ boys’ division, and only have 12 players. With three games remaining, they are still winless.

PCA plays at Cathedral on Tuesday and at Manchester on Thursday, then vs. Manchester Friday at Sports Force Parks. All of the games begin at 5 p.m.

“We’ve had some young kids who never played the game before who have shown up every day. They step up, they work hard, and they’re learning the game. I can see improvement through them over the course of the year,” Bailey said. “I’m chalking this year up to some growing pains with a new coach, new group of kids. We’ll see if the younger ones will keep working into next year.”

The first half of Monday’s game was one to put in the positives pile. It was scoreless until Oakes scored in the 30th minute, and Central Hinds only led 1-0 at halftime. PCA also had two shots on goal, including one by Nick Neihaus that Central Hinds keeper Dylan Williams had to make a diving save to stop.

Central Hinds largely dominated possession, however, and had a steady stream of scoring chances. Oakes’ goal was its 10th shot of the game, and the Cougars finished with 31.

Gavin Pugh and Neihaus each played keeper for a half for PCA and combined to make 17 saves.

Neihaus, who was in goal for the second half, got the short end of the stick when the dam finally burst for Central Hinds. The Cougars scored four times in an eight-minute span to turn their slim halftime lead into a 5-0 runaway.

Macke started the flood with a goal in the 47th minute, and was followed by Nash Lauderdale, Cole Townsend and Oakes, who finished it by knocking in a rebound in the 55th minute.

Another late flurry netted three goals in a six-minute span. Macke, Brayden Bullock and Charlie Holmes scored, with Holmes’ goal finishing the game via the mercy rule in the 74th minute.

“We play them tough for about a half and then we lose focus and lose endurance,” Bailey said. “We’ve had a couple of good games where they’ve been in it the whole game. We just hadn’t found that sweet spot yet.”

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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