Lady Vikes shut out Grenada for first playoff win since 2005

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The last time Warren Central’s girls’ soccer team won a playoff game, none of its players were even a gleam in their parents’ eyes yet.

When the Lady Vikes walked off the field Tuesday night, they had a different kind of gleam — the one that comes with ending a nearly two-decade losing streak.

Allie Mason scored two goals, and Addi Mullen added another as Warren Central beat Grenada 3-0 for its first playoff victory since 2005.

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“It’s very exciting to do something that hasn’t been done in a while. It makes you feel good,” said sophomore forward Jordan Polk, who had two assists.

Warren Central (15-5) advanced to the second round to play Region 2-6A rival Neshoba Central (12-10) Friday at 5 p.m. at Viking Stadium.

Neshoba Central defeated Olive Branch 3-1 in its first-round game Monday.

Saturday’s match-up will be their third this season. Warren Central won the first two, 3-2 and 1-0, and coach Jeremy Lawrence said the familiarity and previous results should help with preparation.

“I think it’s good. We pretty much controlled most of those two games,” Lawrence said. “The score was low, but we’re just not finishing well. As long as we’re finishing well it should be a win we can have.”

Like they have in several recent games, the Lady Vikes struck early against Grenada. Mason scored 10 minutes into the game off an assist from Polk for a quick 1-0 lead.

Polk also assisted Mullen in the 34th minute to make it 2-0 at halftime and give the Lady Vikes some breathing room. While scoring early has been a positive trend, letting off the gas too soon — like they did in a 4-2 overtime loss to Ridgeland last week in which they squandered a 2-0 lead — has been a problem.

“That was the big focus at halftime, was do not let yourselves let up,” Lawrence said. “The better motivator was we can’t let that (Ridgeland) happen again, and I think they learned from that. I don’t think they gave them but one look at our goal the entire second half.”

Warren Central only added one more goal in the second half, when Mason scored off a rebound in the 67th minute. It dominated the flow of play, however, and kept the ball on Grenada’s side of the field nearly the entire half.

The Lady Vikes had one goal wiped off the board by an offsides call and sent several shots from inside the box just wide of the net.

“We didn’t finish well. Three goals and I’ll bet you when we watch that film back we’ve got 28 to 30 opportunities. That’s not a good enough ratio for where we’re at now — but it’s good enough to win and we’ll take it,” Lawrence said.

Now the Lady Vikes get to move into rare air in the second round of the playoffs. The winner Friday will face either Saltillo or Ridgeland for the Class 6A North State championship next week. If Warren Central reaches the semifinals, it will host.

Lawrence acknowledged his team is not used to being in this position, but is certainly enjoying the ride.

“This is different. This is not normal, or at least normal as we know it, and they need to be proud of it,” he said. “I think that’s a good motivator for them.”

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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