By LEE ADAMS
It was the Jordan Jackson and Tiffany Huddleston show on Tuesday afternoon as they led the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers to a 7-2 division win over East Rankin.
The Lady Vols went into Tuesday's came coming off a 6-4 loss to Presbyterian Christian the day before and head coach Robert Gardner was hoping his girls would rebound quickly and win.
"It was a really good performance," said Gardner. "I was looking for a good reaction and good response and that's what we did."Â
On SA's first goal of the game, there was some confusion as to who actually put the ball into the net. Jackson and Huddleston both arrived to the ball that was on the rebound after the East Rankin keeper was unable to corral the previous shot. Jackson was credited with the goal, and even though she didn't get the first goal, Huddleston did score the next two to extend the Lady Vols lead to 3-0 early in the first half.
As the first half started to wind down, Jackson made her presence felt again as she scored two goals before the half ended earning her the hat trick. Her second goal of the match came when she kneed the ball over the East Rankin keeper in mid air.Â
At the break Starkville Academy led 5-0, but it was not done scoring yet.Â
With Jackson and Huddleston handling all the first half scoring, two other Lady Vols found the back of the net in the second half. The first SA player to score in the second half was Jacey Williams and her goal gave the Lady Vols a 6-0 lead. Sallie Kate Richardson finished the SA scoring later in the half and extended the lead to 7-0.
With the game well in hand, Gardner began to send in substitutions to get his younger players game experience.
While the younger players were in the game, East Rankin managed to score two goals, but neither goal came easy as the Lady Vols were playing tough defense.
Even though there were several SA players who were not able to score a goal, the performance of two caught Gardner's eye.
"I think Jessica Dennis and Tiffany Evans have been fantastic for us the past two games," said Gardner. "I'm very happy and pleased with those two especially. They've had great games the past two days."
The 7-2 win improves the Lady Vols to 6-4 this season and brings them back to 500 in the District 2-AAA Conference at 3-3 and the could have the chance to play spoiler as the division race comes down to Jackson Prep and Presbyterian Christian.
"We are in third place right now and that looks like how we'll finish," said Gardner. "We could be playing spoiler, if we beat Jackson Prep on Saturday, we could put Presbyterian Christian in first place, but truth be told, our place is solidified and we're not worried about much else."
To Gardner's knowledge, finishing in third place should put the Lady Vols in the playoffs.