Picayune soccer outlasts Hattiesburg after early scoring frenzy

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

With the help of a pair of goals in the first half by Picayune Memorial High School boy’s soccer midfielder Isidro Loya, the Tide managed to pull out a victory against the Hattiesburg Tigers on Friday, winning 3-2.

Drama filled the beginning minutes of the game, exchanging goals in a fight for an early momentum swing. In the fifth minute of regulation, Picayune’s Trustin Chiasson made a far post run on a Tide corner kick, heading the ball into the back of the net, Head Soccer Coach Britton Fortenberry said. Hattiesburg responded by putting pressure on Picayune’s defense, leading to an own goal after a miscue from the Tide goalkeeper, evening the score, 1-1 in the eighth minute, Fortenberry said.

After a possession battle, Loya scored from 20 yards out in the 20th minute of the first half.

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“Isidro really leads the attack for us. He has the ability to make everyone around him better. The leadership he brings to this team is one of the reasons for our recent success,” Picayune Fortenberry said.

Hattiesburg was quick to respond, tying the game 2-2 when the Tigers finished a close opportunity inside the box in the 25th minute.

Fortenberry said throughout the season so far, he has been trying to stress the message of “never giving up.”

With an attack mindset, Loya built on that message and stole the ball as the Tigers’ defense was keeping possession on their back line, and curled the game-winning goal past the Tigers’ goalie in the 35th minute.

“I’ve been trying to get the kids to respond and keep fighting when it might not go their way,” Fortenberry said. “We had an answer for everything. They did a great job of putting in the extra effort and finishing the game.”

The second half was back and forth between the two teams, with multiple defensive stops. However, the Tide managed to fend off the Tigers’ attacks, leaving the second half scoreless for both teams.

After the Christmas break, Picayune (4-6) will face Harrison Central (3-13) on Jan. 5 for a non-conference away game. On Jan. 6, the Tide will host a rescheduled game from Dec. 13 against Stone County (5-8-2).