No. 3 Pearl River thumps Copiah-Lincoln on sophomore day

Published 11:01 pm Sunday, October 24, 2021

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The No. 3 Pearl River men’s soccer team was clicking on all cylinders Friday, shutting out Copiah-Lincoln 4-0. The Wildcats tied the current program record of nine shutouts in a season in the win.

“I thought that we did a really good job of being patient and you’ve seen that more as we’ve went along,” head coach Drew Gallant said. “Co-Lin is another team that was very organized against us. They made some changes after the break that gave us some issues. Hats off to them for making some changes and keeping it close. I was pleased with the boy’s performance.

“Tying the shutout record is great. It’s huge for the backline and Maddux (Francis) in goal.”

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Pearl River (11-0-1 overall; 9-0 MACCC South) continued the trend of getting on the board early.

Just 10 minutes into the match, a ball was misplayed by a Copiah-Lincoln (5-8-1; 1-7-1) defender and was stolen away by Harper Baggett (Ocean Springs). Baggett dashed into the box, held up and passed the ball to the nearby Alex Emery(Gulfport; West Harrison) who slid the ball across the goal to the far post for his third goal in two games. The score gave the Wildcats an early 1-0 advantage.

In the 19th minute, the Wolves had a good chance to even up the scoring, but a big save from Maddux Francis (Poplarville) kept the Wildcats in front.

Ryley Smith (Manchester, England.; Castlebrook) scored arguably the goal of the season in the 21st minute. After showing off his dribbling skills, Smith made his way near the box where he unleashed a ball that curved around not only the defender that was in his face, but also into the upper right corner of the net and past the diving CLCC keeper.

The 41st minute of the game saw the Wolves make a mistake that resulted in an own-goal. Andre Nicholson (Kingston, Jamaica.; Clarendon College) pushed the ball upfield eventually taking a long touch of the ball. The Copiah-Lincoln defender tried to kick the ball to his goalkeeper but instead kicked it past him and into the net to make the score 3-0.

Just before the halftime buzzer sounded, CLCC almost got on the board for the first time. The Wolves earned a free-kick just outside of the 18-yard box. The shot was smacked toward the right side of the goal, but Francis extended out as far as he could to make the catch and preserve the shutout.

The Wildcats held on to the 3-0 lead going into halftime.

Dustin Cuevas (Picayune; Hancock) came out of the half and immediately tried to outdo the goal that Smith had scored earlier in the game. From around 22 yards out, Cuevas received a pass from Emery and proceeded to line a shot into the right side of the net past the fully extended Wolves keeper.

After the last score for the Wildcats, Copiah-Lincoln made some adjustments that made it harder for the Wildcats to add on any more goals.

Pearl River returns to action Tuesday as it travels to Perkinston to take on archrival Gulf Coast. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m.