Handy’s Bulldogs wins his 100th game

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mississippi Gulf Coast men’s soccer coach Chris Handy deserved a moment of retrospection after Monday’s 3-0 win at Southwest Mississippi.

It wasn’t just another step toward an MACCC South title and hosting the state tournament, the victory was an important milestone, his 100th win in charge of the Bulldogs.

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“It’s a tough league, so when you think back to all the kids who have played for you and won games for you, you’ve got to say thank you,” he said. “I believe we’re doing the right things here, and really it’s just another measure that we’re headed in the direction we want to head. Hopefully, the next 100 come faster.”

Christian Inchima (So., Brampton Ontario/St. Edmond Campion) scored a hat trick, becoming the second Gulf Coast player to record one this season. Four different Bulldogs have at least one two-goal game.

Gulf Coast (10-2, 7-2 MACCC South) needs a win or tie over Pearl River on Friday to clinch the South, which would bring the MACCC Tournament to Perk on May 22-23.

The teams played on a muddy, slippery field in Summit. It was scoreless at halftime, and for the second time in a grueling three-games-in-six-days stretch, Gulf Coast needed a strong second 45 minutes to take care of business. The Bulldogs rallied from two down to beat Jones 3-2 last Wednesday.

Inchima’s first goal came less than a minute into the second half off an assist from Ashton Taylor (Fr., Olive Branch/Center Hill). He scored on a free kick in the 57th minute, and Alwayne Whittaker (Fr., Biloxi/Biloxi) assisted on his third in the 85th.

“For them to come out and put their stamp on this game, it says a lot about their character,” Handy said. “You look back at the Jones game, and when they finally decided it’s go-time, they went on top. This team has been like that all year long, somebody stepping up and having big games. I don’t know that I’ve been around a team where there’s two or three guys who can have a hat trick at any time.”

He named Jordan Hall and C.J. Smith, past Gulf Coast players who have gone on to Division I programs, as individuals who could carry the team. Now, Inchima and Fabien Barker (Fr., Madison/Madison Central) have hat tricks this season, with Taylor and James Redmond (So., Bremen, Germany/Oberschule Roter Sand) also having two-goal games.

Zach Seymour (So., Gulfport/St. Patrick) saved a second-half penalty kick to preserve the shutout.

Gulf Coast now turns its attention to its huge showdown against its archrivals, which they could very well see in the state tournament either at Perk or Poplarville. The Bulldogs won 2-0 in Poplarville on April 26, but that score could hardly be more deceiving.

“We’re going to have to defend a little bit better than what we did in the first game, even though we got a shutout,” Handy said. “We allowed a lot of opportunities. We’ll go back and dig into that film a little bit and make some adjustments we need to make.”

For more information on MGCCC’s 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.