Gulf Coast ready for steep semifinal challenge

Gulf Coast ready for steep semifinal challenge

PERKINSTON — There have been times this year, like Thursday night's thrilling 1-0 win in the MACJC women's soccer quarterfinals, when Mississippi Gulf Coast has had trouble scoring.


In the season's first meeting against the opponent in the semifinals Friday at Ellisville, Gulf Coast was successful offensively. The Lady Bulldogs more than stood up to No. 10 Holmes in the first meeting of the teams on Sept. 18. MGCCC led three different times before falling 4-3 on the first kick of overtime.


"We actually had a lot of success scoring goals," Gulf Coast coach Jackie Rhodes said. "The key against Holmes is defending them. They've got a lot of scoring power and speed up top. I think if we can stay organized on our back line and transition offensively and defensively, we have a chance to win the game."


The teams play at noon Saturday, with Jones' women hosting the tournament as MACJC South champs. No. 16 Jones plays Pearl River at 5 p.m. in the other semifinal. Saturday's MGCCC semifinal will not be streamed.


Paris Payne (Fr., Southampton, England/Saints Foundation), Kaitlyn Harwell (So., Wiggins/Stone) and Jade Bernet (Fr., Alicante, Spain/Narrabundah) put Gulf Coast ahead with their goals before a late Holmes penalty kick tied it in regulation. A shot directly off the kickoff of the first overtime ended the game.


No other team this year managed more than one goal against Holmes, which has 11 shutouts.


Gulf Coast was playing its fourth game in seven days in the last meeting, which somewhat mirrors this busy week. It will be the third game in six days, and the winner will turn around and play Sunday in the MACJC championship game against the winner of the other semifinal.


"Our season has set us up for a week like this," Rhodes said. "All along, that was why the schedule was the way it was. We knew there was a possibility, if we wanted to win a state championship, we were going to have to win four games in a week. They're used to their legs being tired and having to win big games."


For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to

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