PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast played archrival Pearl River through 90 exhausting minutes of regulation and another 20 of overtime. Leaving the field with a 1-1 tie wasn't the goal at the start of the game, but character was revealed.
"We figured out that our team has a lot of guts," Lady Bulldogs coach Jackie Rhodes said. "You go down a man early in the second half, and you find out what your team is made of. It's disappointing to get the tie, but we'll take it and move forward."
Gulf Coast got a pair of monumental one-on-one saves from Chascidi Martin (Fr., Terry/Byram), who signed her scholarship papers earlier in the day.
"I'm very blessed and happy about it," Martin said. "I'm just doing what I've been trained to do. I've been working hard and staying with it."
She'd been brought to Perkinston as a backup keeper but has had to step in with the No. 1 keeper sidelined by injury. She had four saves on breakaway situations in a 2-1 loss at No. 19 Jones County.
"She struggled early, but she takes her commitment to training super serious," Rhodes said. "She's been lights out for us the last two district games. She could easily be the most valuable player for us the last two games. I was happy to give her a scholarship."
L.T. Massey (So., Oak Grove/Hattiesburg) scored in the 33rd minute when she challenged a Pearl River defender on a bouncing ball just outside the top of the box.
"It was a do-or-die situation and went for it," she said. "I wanted it more. That's what Jackie always talks about, whoever wants it more is going to get it."
Sarah Shepherd (So., Germantown/Germantown, Tenn.) was right there to help clean up the turnover, and she unselfishly passed it to Massey for a wide-open net.
Pearl River equalized in the 54th minute when Caroline Grafe's sharp-angled looping shot dipped just under the crossbar.
Each team had players sent off in the next 20 minutes, but the teams played the rest of the game without another score.
Gulf Coast (2-2-1, 0-1-1 MACJC South) is still looking for its first division win of the season. The Lady Wildcats are 2-0-1, 1-0-1.
The Lady Bulldogs return to action Saturday with a trip to Southwest. Their next home game is Sept. 17 when Navarro College visits Perkinston.
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCAthletics on Twitter and BulldogLIVE on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.