(Photos by Misty Dedeaux)
by Hunter Dawkins
Despite the fog and build of moisture on the field at Lumpkin Magee Stadium Tuesday night, the Long Beach Boys and Girls Soccer Teams won their respective games returning to the 5A MHSAA State Championship, which will be played Saturday at Brandon High School. Similar to this year, both teams won the 5A MHSAA South State Championships last year.
GIRLS: LONG BEACH 3 WEST JONES 0
The Lady Bearcats began sluggish to start. Long Beach Goalie Ashton Rupert stopped a few shots on goal early, finishing with 12 saves, her sixth straight shutout, and only allowing two goals in 2019.
“She (Ashton Rupert) did an amazing job and the girls played an excellent game against a physical West Jones,” said Long Beach Lady Bearcats Soccer Coach Haley Hammons. “The girls played a great game and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
With 20 minutes left in the first half, Long Beach forward Nathalie Salvador put a goal through the net. This goal gave the Lady Bearcats an early halftime score 1-0.
Aggressively attacking at the start of the second half, Long Beach Junior Julia Geertsema scored two goals in the first six minutes of the second half with assists from Nathalie Salvador and Amanda Anderson to make the score 3-0.
After this, the Lady Bearcats set it on cruise control and will take the 5A MHSAA South State Championship to Brandon for the state title.
The Girls 5A MHSAA State Championship will be played at 4pm on Saturday, February 9 in Brandon, MS with Long Beach playing against the Lafayette County Lady Commodores.
BOYS: LONG BEACH 5 WEST HARRISON 3 (2 OTS)
In the cross town rivalry, the Hurricanes stormed the field at the beginning, putting in two deflection goals to take the lead 2-0. With their back against the wall, Long Beach scored their first goal at the stoppage clock to come within one as the halftime score was 2-1.
Bearcats Senior Kai Van Court kicked the first score of the second half at the 37th minute, tying the game 2-2. Twenty minutes later, the West Harrison found an empty net with a header off of a corner kick to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead.
As the crowd was yelling on both sides with under ten minutes left, Bearcats Van Court drew a foul inside the box to force a penalty kick. Once converted, the new score was a 3-3 tie until the end of the period forcing two overtimes by MHSAA playoff rules.
The Hurricanes were no match for the Bearcats in the first overtime, as Long Beach quickly put in two goals for a 5-3 lead. The Long Beach defense of Senior Captain Chase Dedeaux, Carson Favre and Noah Shockley sent the Bearcats to their second consecutive state title, winning the 5A MHSAA South State Championship.
The Boys 5A MHSAA State Championship will be played at 6pm on Saturday, February in Brandon with Long Beach playing against the Lewisburg Patriots.