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Vols, Mustangs meet in Class AAA playoffs

February 17, 2013

Matt Jones turns to track down the soccer ball for Starkville Academy during a match earlier this season. (Submitted photo)

A score will be settled at the Starkville Sportsplex soccer field today.

After battling to a tie, not once but twice, during the regular season, the Starkville Academy Volunteers and Pillow Academy Mustangs meet in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs. The match is slated to begin at 3 p.m.

The two teams played the fourth match of the season in Starkville, which ended up a 3-3 tie, then were deadlocked at 2-2 at the end of last Thursday's encounter in Greenwood.

Starkville Academy coach Robert Gardner expects a tough match because of what happened in the first two meetings.

"We don't think it will be easy by any means," Gardner said. "We had second-half leads and had a chance to finish the game off. We haven't done that well enough. That's what we have addressed the last few days."

The Vols finished the regular season with 14-3-2 overall and 10-2 in Class AAA, Division II.

Gardner likes the way his squad has performed throughout the season and hopes for a solid effort against Pillow.
"If we do what we can to the best of our ability, we feel like we should have a good chance to advance," Gardner said. "It's going to take plenty of work and be focused on our job, responsibility and what we have to do. That's the most important thing."

The Vols had practice sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in preparation of seeing the Mustangs for the third time this season.

Seniors Matt Jones, Drew Pellum and several others will take the field to lead Starkville Academy.

"To be a senior-laden team, it's very important that we do the job and give everything we have," Gardner said.

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