ELLISVILLE — The toll of playing three games in four days and the talented opposition proved to be too much for the Mississippi Gulf Coast women's soccer team Sunday.
No. 16 Jones defeated the Lady Bulldogs 6-1 in the MACJC championship game.
"We had nothing left," Gulf Coast coach Jackie Rhodes said. "They gave everything they had. All you could ask is they played with whatever was left from the week."
MGCCC closes out the season 7-7-2 after finishing second in the MACJC South to the Lady Bobcats (13-2), who won their third straight MACJC title.
Gulf Coast, trying for its first state title since 2011, got off to a promising start when a cross by Kaitlyn Harwell (So., Wiggins/Stone) earned a penalty kick for a hand ball. Hannah Helms (Fr., Southaven/Southaven) stepped up and banged it in the lower-right corner for a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.
Jones would convert a penalty of its own 12 minutes later, then scored two more before the break. The Lady Bulldogs pressured in the second half, but couldn't score and left themselves exposed at the back.
Gulf Coast was playing its fourth game in seven days, as well, having closed out the regular season Monday. It won a quarterfinal match 1-0 over Hinds at Perkinston on Thursday, then advanced to the finals by upsetting No. 10 Holmes, winning 4-2 penalties after a scoreless 110 minutes of play.
"It's a hard loss but we've learned some lessons," Rhodes said. "It's our first trip here in several years, so the freshmen now know what it's like to play in games like this. We'll learn from it."
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