South State Champs: Rock-a-Chaws edge cross-town rival Tigers 1-0
By Joseph W. Gex, II
Feb 4, 2014, 21:20
Ethan Loftin, left, puts a move on the ball for the Tigers as Dustin Bosch charges in on the play for the Rocks. Bosch scored for St. Stanislaus in the final moments of the game as the Rocks took a 1-0 hard fought victory over Bay High for the South State Championship and a trip Saturday to Clinton to vie for the overall state 4A title.
We’ve all heard the old saying, "It is hard to beat someone three times in one season." The Class 4A South State title game had that overtone on a foggy field at Joe D. McCullouch Stadium Tuesday evening.
The Bay High Tigers and the St. Stanislaus Rock-a-chaws locked horns for the third time this year in high school soccer. The two previous contests were claimed by the Tigers (15-5-2) while the Rocks recorded the 1-0 decision last night for the Class 4A South State title and a trip to state finals on Saturday.
SSC head coach Ryan Joiner commented, "I told the players before the game that pressure makes diamonds. If we can keep the pressure up and play with great effort, good things will happen. Dustin Bosch got credit for the goal tonight but he defended really well tonight. He is relentless. Owen Betz stepped up and pitched the shutout in goal. He will end up being a Division I goalie and he made a difference for us tonight. We congratulate Bay High on an outstanding season. Kelly Ross and Shane Kowalski have done an outstanding job with an incredibly talented and young team. They will be a force for many years to come."
In the two previous games, the Tigers defeated the Rocks 3-2 and 2-1 en route to their third consecutive Division 8-4A title.
With the fog banks rolling in, the two teams battled to a scoreless first half. Bay High goalie Grant Adam had six tremendous stops in goal for the Tigers in the first half including three consecutive stops that were simply instinctual reaction stops with 27 minutes remaining in the half. The three shots all came within four seconds. If there was any doubt about his caliber of play in goal up to that point this year, it was resolved in those four seconds.
Joiner added, "Grant Adam played a superb game for Bay High tonight. He is a great goalie and has been all year for them."
Following the same mode as the two previous games, the Rocks possessed the ball considerably more than the Tigers did throughout the game. That has been the mantra of these two teams throughout the year. SSC has been a better possessing team while the Tigers have been better at finishing opportunities in front of the goal. And tonight was not any different with SSC taking 17 shots on goal while Bay High had three.
Adam stepped up again in the second half and made great save after great save.
Then, with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, Dustin Bosch, a sophomore, took a shot on goal that ripped the net on a deflection by a Tiger defender. Bosch leads the Rocks in scoring with 24 goals and 14 assists.
Bay High head coach Kelly Ross stated, "SSC played a great game and we played a great game. They took more shots on goal than we did and the deflection was the difference. Grant Adam was impressive in goal tonight stopping some big shots. These two teams have played three tremendous games this year. And, the difference in each game has been something out of the ordinary. In the first one, it was a bicycle kick. In the second, it was a volley off a corner. And, tonight it was a deflection. We wish them the best this weekend in Clinton and hope they bring home the title to Bay St. Louis."
The Tigers have advanced to the state playoffs for the past five seasons and won a Class 4A state championship in 2011. The Rocks made an about face this year. They went 6-11-1 last season and advanced to the playoffs but this year the Rocks are 16-7-1. The Rocks have claimed five state championships in soccer. Their titles were won in 1996-97, 2003-04 and 2010.
The south state championship game was set up by wins in the second round of the playoffs by Bay High and SSC on Saturday, February 1st. The Tigers went on the road to defeat West Lauderdale 5-0. In that game Mark Johnson tallied a hat trick while Patrick Ponder and Heath Sahuque each scored a goal. The Rocks hosted Newton County on Saturday and won 2-0. Bosch and Evan Lundgren each scored in the win.
The Our Lady Academy Crescents (17-2-2) won their second round game on Saturday 4-0 against Madison-St. Joe on the road. Abby Gollott and Tiffany Jones each scored two goals in the win. The Crescents play Sacred Heart in hattiesburg tonight at 6pm for the Class 1A/2A/3A South State championship. Sacred Heart stopped OLA in this game last year en route to claiming their first state soccer title. OLA has won eight state soccer titles.
The Bay High Lady Tigers dropped their first round playoff game 3-1 to Northeast Jones on Thursday, January 30th. Hailey Furlan scored the Lady Tigers goal. Bay High ended their season with a 14-2-4 overall record. Bay High has won three consecutive Division 8-4A titles and played in the Class 4A state finals in 2011. The Rocks will play the winner of Florence/Lafayette County on Saturday at Mississippi College in Clinton at 1 p.m.