No. 4 Pearl River defeats Itawamba, collects sixth clean sheet

Published 4:58 pm Saturday, October 2, 2021

FULTON, Miss. — The No. 4 Pearl River men’s soccer team continued its successful start to the season, defeating Itawamba 2-0 and collecting its sixth clean sheet of the season.

The Wildcat victory snapped Itawamba’s five-match win streak.

“I thought we played pretty well,” coach Drew Gallant said. “It’s never easy having to come so far to get a game in. I’m glad that we were able to get it in. We had to change our schedule and our normal routine for an away game, but the boys adapted well. I think they handled things well. I don’t think we had a great game, but players were able to come on and contribute good minutes and make good things happen.

Just as they have done all season, Pearl River (7-0-1 overall) continuously put pressure on the Itawamba (6-3) back line throughout the beginning of the match, living on the Indians half of the field, but it wasn’t until the 26th minute that the Wildcats bagged a goal.

The Wildcats have been lethal on set pieces throughout the season and that continued as Mohamed Diallo (Gulfport) booted a corner kick toward the goal and Durron Myers (Gulfport) headed the ball past the ICC keeper, putting PRCC ahead 1-0.

“Durron was our man of the match coming off of the bench,” Gallant said. “He does anything that you ask him to do. The goal was great and he’s just so good in the air. It was perfect for him. When we need to be a threat in the air we bring Durron on. We know that we can always use him in that situation.”

PRCC created a few more chances throughout the duration of the half but was unable to come away with any additional goals.

The Wildcats went into the half with a slim 1-0 lead.

The beginning of the second half of the game played out similarly to the first with the Wildcats creating chance after chance but failing to find the last pass.

One of the best opportunities of the second half was when the Wildcats took three consecutive shots but were unable to find the back of the net. Ryley Smith (Manchester, England.; Castlebrook) took the first shot before the ball made its way to Harper Baggett (Ocean Springs) who took the second shot. After Baggett’s shot was deflected, the ball found Andre Nicholson (Kingston, Jamaica.; Clarendon College) who also was unable to put the ball into the net.

The Wildcats finally found the insurance goal that they had been searching for in the 68th minute.

Julio Cezar (Curitiba, Brazil) fired a shot toward the goal, but it was deflected into the air. Baggett was standing nearby and headed it home for his team-leading seventh goal of the season and giving Cezar his first assist in the maroon and gold.

“Julio has been dealing with a nagging injury,” Gallant said. “I think he was feeling better today and was seeing more opportunities to get forward. It’s something that we work on all of the time and hopefully, it’s something we can start to see more of. He’s really good moving forward up the field.”

The Wildcats were able to hold on to their 2-0 lead and claimed their seventh match in a row.

UP NEXT
The Wildcats return to the pitch on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at rival Jones College. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m.