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Poplarville seals playoff spot with win

The Poplarville Hornets soccer team took on the Greene County Wildcats Jan. 16 and won 1-0 in overtime.

The nail biter of a game was a physical affair that saw both teams receive yellow cards after an altercation between two players.

Poplarville was the team that was best able to maintain its composure and that led to the team’s victory.

“A game like that is usually messy and rough. It’s (about) whoever makes the least amount of mistakes and we were lucky to be on that side of the box score,” Head Coach Luke Gipson said.

The score was 0-0 throughout the game with neither team able to finish on some good chances, including a penalty for the Hornets that was sent wide of the goal.

After the first 80 minutes of the game expired, the match moved into overtime, which is played in two 10 minute periods with a short break in between.

It was during this time the Hornets broke the deadlock.

Freshman forward Devin Ladner latched onto a long ball and took it into the box.

As a defender approached, Ladner used a quick move and turn of pace to escape.

In desperation, the defender lashed out with their leg, taking down Ladner and giving the Hornets another penalty kick. Junior Captain Seth Santiago stepped up to the spot and on the referee’s whistle, Santiago quickly approached the ball and smashed it off the left post and into the net.

Hornets fans cheered in the stands as Santiago ran the length of the pitch before celebrating in front of the Poplarville bench. The winning play took place during the first ten minute period of overtime.

Following a short break the second period began, but the Poplarville defense held firm sealing the 1-0 victory.

The win is important for Poplarville because it sealed the team’s playoff spot.

The following day Poplarville took on Forrest County and lost 3-2 in overtime, but the match up didn’t affect the Hornets’ playoff spot because of the victory over Greene County the night before. Only two teams advance from each district and this year it will be Poplarville and Stone County who will be heading into the playoffs.

The two teams will meet again on Jan. 21 for the second and final meeting between the two squads this season. Stone County won the last meeting 3-1, but because the team’s playoff spots are already secured the Hornets will likely give some of their starters a rest in order to prevent an important player from being injured. The match up with the Tomcats will be an away game for the Hornets and it’s scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.