Long Beach soccer teams sweep PRC in playoffs
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 13, 2018
CARRIERE — On a muddy field Friday night, Pearl River Central High School’s soccer teams fell against Long Beach High School in the second round of the Class 5A soccer state playoffs. In the first game of the night, two goals in the first half and one more in the second helped the Lady Bearcats triumph over the Lady Devils and secure a spot in the Class 5A South State Championship game. Maddie Beets scored twice Nathalie Salvador scored once for Long Beach. With the loss, PRC saw its season come to an end. The Lady Devils finished the season with a 5-11 overall record, and a record of 4-2 in Region 7-5A play. Head Coach Joe Weems said even though the Lady Devils came up short of the win, he is proud of the way the team played and of their hard work throughout the season.
“We came out here knowing that it was going to be a tough game, Long Beach is a really good team but we played them well,” Weems said. “As the season went on, the girls got better and they have helped turn this program around and you can’t ask for more than that. The girls went from not winning any games to making it all the way to the second round of the playoffs, they did a wonderful job and they have been incredible all season. Heading into next season, it’s going to be tough to replace our seniors and I’ll miss them but they have been amazing.”
In the second game of the night, after a score-less match in regulation play, Long Beach scored twice in overtime to knock PRC out of the playoffs and advance to the Class 5A South State Championship game.
The Bearcats had a chance to score the first goal of the night in the second minute of the game but Blue Devils goalkeeper Cole Benoit dove to the right post of the goal and batted the ball away from the net.
As the rest of the first half played out, both teams had several opportunities to break the tie but neither team was able to capitalize off of their opportunities. Much of the action in the second half took place in the middle of the field with neither team able to create any clear scoring opportunities.
With six minutes left in the game, the Bearcats had an opportunity to score the first goal of the night after a free-kick inside the penalty box was called in the team’s favor. With PRC setting up a five-man wall in order to prevent a goal, Long Beach’s Dylan Picchi free-kick bounced off the crossbar and the game remained scoreless.
A minute later, Long Beach scored the goal they had been looking for all night, but an offsides by the sideline referee negated the score. After regulation, the game headed to overtime and it wasn’t until about five minutes in the first half when Long Beach obtained the score they were looking for off a corner kick. In an attempt to clear the penalty box after the corner kick and kick the ball down the field, a PRC defender kicked the ball in a manner that caused the ball to go into his own net.
A minute later, the Bearcats sealed the win after Kai Vancourt scored the second goal of the night off a 30-yard free kick. The Blue Devils finished the year with 10 wins, the team’s highest in recent years.
“I thought we had a good chance to win but unfortunately we didn’t finish the opportunities we had, which was our story all season long,” Weems said. “At the end, this has been a great season where we accomplished new goals such as sweeping Picayune in the regular season and advancing to the second round of the playoffs. Heading into next season, we are losing 80 percent of our players so we have a lot of work to do in the next couple of months. I’ll miss our seniors, I’m proud of them and they have been a great group of kids.”