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Poplarville girls soccer loses close game to Greene County

The first game back from holiday break for the Lady Hornets soccer team was a loss to Greene County 1-0 on Jan. 6.

The defensive stalemate was broken by a long shot from outside the box to give the Wildcats the victory.

Head Coach Beth McShea said her team played well, but an impossible to block shot made the difference.

Stone County leads the district with a 4-0 record and has a tight grip on a playoff spot, which means Poplarville, Greene County, Purvis and Forrest County are all fighting for the second playoff spot.

McShea said her team might’ve been able to pull off the victory against Greene County if her players had capitalized on scoring opportunities.

“We just couldn’t find the back of the net. We had loads of opportunities, but we couldn’t finish,” McShea said.

Some rustiness was expected after the long holiday layoff, but the team practiced multiple times over the break.

Conditioning responsibilities fell on the players as the practices were more strategic in nature, as a result McShea said some athletes dealt with fatigue as the game progressed.

“I had several that you would think hadn’t missed a beat over the break and then there were a couple that were tired. For the majority of them the break did them some good,” McShea said.

The light practices allowed the athletes to rest their legs after going non-stop in practices that started at the beginning of the school year.

The fresh legs will come in handy as the Lady Hornets enter the home stretch of the season.

Only four district games remain for Poplarville to pull away and clinch a playoff spot. The loss to Greene County means if the Lady Hornets want to guarantee a postseason opportunity they need wins.

If Poplarville doesn’t win the remaining district games, then the team’s playoff hopes will come down to how the other teams in the district perform.

“It definitely adds pressure because now instead of being able to have wiggle room later we have to win out. Now we have to win the rest of them to ensure a playoff opportunity,” McShea said.

The Lady Hornets will have to recover quickly as they play Purvis on Jan. 7 in another district game. The Tornadoes were soundly beaten by the Lady Hornets earlier in the season 4-0, so Poplarville will be looking to achieve a similar result as the team tries to add another district win to the resume.

Poplarville must be able to take advantage of scoring opportunities against Purvis and McShea said that’s one area she’s hoping to see improvement in. “I’d like to see them be able to finish, get some goals up on the board and play our game of soccer,” McShea said.

The game will start at 5:30 p.m.