SSC to play Florence for Class 4A state title
By Joseph W. Gex, II
Feb 7, 2014, 20:34
The St. Stanislaus Rock-a-chaws will be gunning for their sixth state soccer championship on Saturday when they take on Florence High School on the campus of Clinton High School at 3:30pm.
The Rocks defeated the Bay High Tigers 1-0 in a hard-fought game between two outstanding teams on Tuesday evening at Joe D/ McCullouch Stadium/Tank Williams Field.
The Rocks enter the state title game with an overall record of 16-7-1. The Rocks have defeated Northeast Jones, Newton County and Bay High en route to the state finals. And, all three victories have come by way of shutout.
On the season, the Rocks have taken 349 shots on goal and have scored 80 goals. Dustin Bosch leads SSC in scoring with 21 goals and 10 assists followed by Evan Lundgren with 16 goals and 11 assists.
Patrick McRaney has scored 12 goals and seven assists while Tom Burcham has tallied 10 goals and an assist.
In goal, Owen Betz has posted seven shutouts during the season but he has stepped up to deliver three in a row during the postseason.
The Rocks will face a Florence team that defeated them 3-0 in the Laurel tournament on November 16th.
SSC head coach Ryan Joiner Commented, “We are trying to get ready for the turf field. We practiced at West Harrison on Thursday and at Petal on Friday to experience the turf. A lot of the fields we play on are bumpy and worn down due to both the football and soccer seasons.
The turf adds another dimension to the game. It is a fast surface.
“We like that.
“We have played Florence this year but it was back in November and we were missing eight starters due to other sports playing and different things. We hope they are a little surprised. But, we know they are battle tested. They have played a solid schedule and are from the Jackson metro area.
“They play strong teams. We will approach this game as the game we have worked for all season. And, we will work until the goal is accomplished.”
Florence has taken 381 shots on goal this year and has scored 58 times. Florence (15-10-1) defeated Lafayette County 1-0 on Wednesday evening for the Class 4A North State title.
They are led by Tripp Sheppard with 15 goals and six assists followed by Justin Lee with 13 goals and two assist and Jamie Hicks with 10 goals and five assists.
The Rocks previously won state titles in 1996-97, 2003-04 and 2010.
The Our Lady Academy Crescents ended their season on Wednesday evening in Hattiesburg with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Lady Crusaders of Sacred Heart.
Abby Gollott scored in the 76th minute of regulation on an assist by Tiffany Jones to put OLA up 1-0. Sacred Heart tied the game during what seemed to be a very long extended time of play.
There was not any injury time and the referee provided no explanation for the extra four minutes of play.
Both teams went through a scoreless first 10-minute overtime period. With about two minutes left in the second 10-minute overtime period, Sacred Heart scored the go-ahead goal for the 2-1 victory.
OLA head coach Andie Thornton stated, “My girls played their hearts out and I could not be more proud of them. We had a tremendous season and we look forward to getting a shot at them next year. My girls have no right to hang their heads.
“They gave it their all and played their hearts out. I cannot be any more proud of them than I am right now.”
The loss marked the second consecutive year that OLA has ended their season in the Class 1A/2A/3A South State championship game at the hands of Sacred Heart after playing in every state soccer final from 2000-12.
OLA has claimed eight soccer state championships in their program’s history.