Lady Vikes advance to Class 6A soccer semifinals
Published 7:40 pm Friday, February 9, 2024
One person described it as “Cloud Nine.” Another called it “Heaven.”
They were both fitting descriptions for the kind of rare air Warren Central’s girls’ soccer team ascended to on Friday night.
Gloria Hall scored the go-ahead goal with five minutes left in regulation, and Allie Mason added the clincher three minutes later to give Warren Central a 3-1 victory over Neshoba Central in the second round of the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs.
Email newsletter signup
The Lady Vikes (16-5) advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since the MHSAA made girls soccer a varsity sport in the mid-1990s.
“It’s amazing. I’m so proud of every single girl on this team. We’re making history. It literally feels like heaven,” said Hall, one of only three seniors on the roster. “It feels like a breath of fresh air to finally see ourselves where we want to be.”
Warren Central will play Saltillo or Ridgeland for a trip to the Class 6A championship game on Tuesday. A game time will be finalized this weekend.
“I’m on Cloud Nine, especially for the girls. The plan was set out in motion three years ago and they’re seeing the fruits of their labor,” Warren Central coach Jeremy Lawrence said.
Jordan Polk scored early in the first half to put Warren Central ahead 1-0, but Neshoba tied it before halftime. The Lady Vikes controlled most of the action in the second half, but couldn’t find the back of the net until Hall stepped up in the waning moments.
A turnover in the box gave her a good look at the net, and she lofted a shot over the keeper’s right shoulder for the go-ahead goal.
“It was one of those things where my shots weren’t working so I just powered through it and it went in. I just swung at it,” Hall said. “I definitely got numb. It’s just amazing.”
Neshoba Central (12-11), with its season hanging in the balance, pushed up its defenders to try and generate the equalizer. It got some pressure, but also left itself open to a counterattack. Mason got behind the defense and took advantage to score the clinching goal with less than two minutes to go.
The Lady Vikes also had a goal wiped out by an offsides call before Mason scored.
“We had to make some adjustments. We weren’t able to compete with their speed, especially our two center backs. Once we made those adjustments we settled down, but for some reason we couldn’t connect in the final third to put it in the back of the net,” Lawrence said. “Sometimes it just takes one moment, and that’s all it did.”