The Starkville Yellowjackets celebrate a goal scored in the first half against Center Hill Thursday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Alvaro Pichardo was a player the Starkville Yellowjackets could count on last year to potentially score several goals per soccer match.
Even though there have been some outings this season where a certain individual could collect two or more goals, the balance on the field is considered a strong point for Starkville.
That was on display Tuesday night for the Jackets as they earned a 4-0 victory over the Center Hill Mustangs at home in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
"We knew we had Alvaro, but we had several guys who could score last year," SHS boys coach Brian Bennett said. "It makes us more dangerous when we can come from almost anywhere. I was very proud of the guys."
The Jackets improved their record to 11-3 this season and, as do the girls, have a second-round matchup against Oxford on the road Saturday.
For seniors like Kase Kingery, the aspect of teamwork has been a welcomed sight this season.
"It was great," Kingery said. "We played together as a team. Of any of the years I've been here, this is the best team effort. Since more than one person got to score, it tells us that we're doing things right and getting a lot of people into the attack. I had a lot of fun with it."
Juan Salazar got the first goal for the Jackets in the first half from about 35 yards out, then Kingery recorded a goal to put SHS up 2-0 at halftime.
Bennett said the key to success was possessing the soccer ball throughout the first half.
"We didn't do this a couple of weeks ago and it comes from finally getting some games of being together," Bennett said. "When you can possess like that, you are wearing the other team down. It's real hard to chase the ball and we've been in that position before."
Starkville got two more goals in the second half when Taylor Wise put one in at the 21st minute and Price Day scored with 2 minutes left in the match.
There weren't many times Center Hill was in a position to score which made the situation better for goal keeper Addison Watson of the Jackets.
"Everyone was doing their job so it was easy for me," Watson said. "It made our game so much better and I'm so proud. Everyone deserves to take their hat off for this game."
View more articles in: