The Holmes Community College Lady Bulldog soccer team has accomplished one of their season goals after they claimed their back-to-back North Division title Oct. 10 with a win over Hinds Community College. Along the way, the team secured the right to host the 2017 MACJC/Region XXIII Tournament and will move on to reaching their next goal of winning a state/region title.
With a 4-0 win over Itawamba yesterday the Lady Bulldogs finished the regular season with an overall record of 12-0-1 and a division record of 7-0-1. The Lady Bulldogs gave up two division goals the entire season and are currently ranked #13 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll and #16 in the NJCAA Poll.
Other teams entered into the tournament on the women's side include: Itawamba, Northwest, Jones, Pearl River and Gulf Coast; and on the men's side include: East Central, Hinds, Itawamba, Gulf Coast, Pearl River and Southwest. Holmes will face the winner of Northwest/Pearl River in the semifinals on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. while Jones will play the winner of Itawamba/Gulf Coast at 5 p.m. Saturday. The quarterfinals will be played on Tuesday, Oct. 24. The championship game for the women will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29.
"We set goals at the beginning of every year, and it's always good to be able to accomplish those," Associate Head Coach Wesley Noble said. "Winning the North was one of the goals we set, and we thought we had the team to be able to do it."
"The league's becoming more and more competitive each year. There are no easy games," he said. "We had a lot of good competition, but I'm proud of the girls. We've been very organized and disciplined, and the girls are getting better and better."
The Lady Bulldogs have scored 44 goals so far this season (3.38 goals per game). The goals against is just as impressive at .53. Holmes had seven shutouts on the year. Kendal Walsh leads in goals scored with 15 while Madison Deslatte has 10. Deslatte leads in assist with eight while Brooke Burrell has seven. Goalkeeper Bailey O'Connor has played in 12 games with 25 saves and only five goals against while Morgan McKinion has played 11 games with three goals against.
Noble credits the communication on the back line as the reason for only giving up two division goals this season. "The girls work together, and they buy in to the concept," he said. "We work on defensive responsibilities constantly and what their jobs are. We have some really smart individual players, and they've helped us take the mindset of our back line to a new level. They've adapted well every game we've played. It also helps to have two fantastic keepers pushing each other at training every day."
As far as serving as host, Noble said, "It's a great honor. If you are able to do it, it's always fun for the girls. It's the first time in program history that the girls have ever hosted. We like the fact the girls get to sleep in their own beds compared to a hotel, we get to go through our usual game day routine before we play, and we haven't lost on our field in two years. We seem to be peaking at the right time. We are playing the best we have played all year right now and we are excited about improving even more over the next 9 days."