Pearl River tops Meridian in return home

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, April 22, 2021

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Two quick goals to open the second half proved to be the difference Tuesday as the Pearl River women’s soccer team topped visiting Meridian 2-1. 

“It was a big win against a good, organized Meridian team,” Pearl River coach Henrik Madsen said. “I thought we played well enough in the first half and had some good opportunities to maybe put it away early but we didn’t take our chances and then we made it exciting at the end. Credit to Meridian. 

“They never stopped.”

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The Wildcats (3-2-1 overall; 2-1 MACCC South) opened the game dominating possession and while they were able to send four shots on goal they didn’t have anything to show for it. 

Two minutes into the second half Briana Carr (Laurel; West Jones) broke the deadlock. Makenzie Ezell lofted a ball over MCC’s back line, sending Aubrie Edwards (Biloxi) in on goal. The freshman forward broke in on the right side and sent a strong cross through the goal mouth. MCC’s keeper dove for the ball but misjudged the pass and Carr crashed the back door, tapping the ball into the exposed net.

“It was a good one from Aubrie,” Madsen said. “That’s something we work on in practice, driving the ball and crossing it back across the goal because it’s hard for the goalkeeper to read and get those.”

Three minutes later the Wildcats doubled their lead. After earning a corner kick, Edwards sent a hard kick into the box. Erin Clifford (Ocean Springs) picked the ball out of the crowd and hammered it home for the 2-0 lead.

“The corner was high quality and Erin was great with the header,” Madsen said. “You have to be brave there because there are a bunch of people in there. You have to want the header and she did.”

MCC (1-5) ramped up the pressure from there. Although the Eagles broke through in the 79th minute, keeper Azaria Breaux (Gulfport) did a fantastic job keeping PRCC ahead. No save was bigger than in the 86th minute when Breaux jumped up to deflect a driven shot off the cross bar and then pounced on the rebound.

“She made a great save on the volley, hitting it off the crossbar and then winning the rebound,” Madsen said. “That was really great stuff from Azaria.”

Breaux finished the match with three saves.

The Wildcats are back on the pitch Friday for a 3 p.m. kickoff at Copiah-Lincoln.