ICC Men’s Soccer Preview: New leadership, same mission for the Indians

Published 1:32 pm Monday, August 15, 2022

FULTON, Miss. – The Itawamba Community College men’s soccer team will return to the pitch in just over a month, under first-year head coach Caryl Vogel. The Indians finished last season with an 11-5 record and won the North Division championship. Vogel and the Indians appear to be primed for another successful season in Fulton.

Schedule Breakdown
The Indians will host 11 home events, including five conference matches against Southwest Mississippi (Sept. 16), Gulf Coast (Sept. 27), Jones (Oct. 7), Holmes (Oct. 18), and East Central (Oct. 25). Other home matches include Pearl River (Aug. 26), Mineral Area (Aug. 28), Andrew (Aug. 30), Bethel (Sept. 2), Hinds (Sept. 9), and Meridian (Sept. 13). Conference road matches include Co-Lin (Sept. 23), Meridian (Sept. 30), Pearl River (Oct. 4), Hinds (Oct. 14), and Northwest (Oct. 21). All home matches are scheduled to be streamed on LetsGoICCTV.com – weather pending.

Key Returners
Defender Jhasiel Bautista (Ripley), midfielder Billy Gipp (London, England), and striker JB Purvis (Byhalia) are the only starters returning from last year’s squad. Purvis was second on the team with six goals and added an assist as a freshman. Gipp led the team with six assists while scoring three goals last season. Despite only returning three starters, the Indians will not be lacking in experience. Nate Drewry (Corinth), Eric Velazquez (Tupelo), Anthony Jones (Oxford), Brayden Bowden (Olive Branch), Sammy Gallardo (Saltillo), Samuel Franco (Ecru), and Brian Romero (New Albany) will look to build on strong preseason workouts to contribute to the Indians’ success this season.

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Important Newcomers
Freshmen Maryo Elsheikh (Bartlett, TN), Hogan Payne (Olive Branch), Gage Lashlee (Olive Branch), Christian Holman (Olive Branch), and Christian Mahan (Southaven) will look to lead one of the Indians’ best recruiting classes in the history of the program. Aiden Belk (Oxford), Reed Conerly (Tupelo), Kyle Morris (Olive Branch), Malte Nickelsen (Reinbeck, Germany), Ethan Scott (Olive Branch), Daven Sanders (Tupelo), Eli Kitchens (Southaven), Logan Murphy (Southaven), Owen Anforth (Burnley, England), and Ian Thomas (Southaven) are all expected to battle for significant playing time throughout the season.

New MACCC Playoff Format
This is the first season the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) will not compete in the traditional North and South divisions and not have a conference tournament. The No. 1 team in the regular season will be the conference champion and will get a bye into the semifinals of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 23 Tournament. The teams that finish second, third, and fourth in the regular season will host the fifth, sixth, and seventh teams respectfully in the quarterfinals. The men’s champion will host this season’s Region 23 Tournament.