The Starkville Academy Volunteers were hit with adversity on Monday when one of their senior players went down with an injury early in their Class AAA soccer match against Pillow Academy.
Even though the Vols had Drew Pellum suffer a broken leg and not be able to finish the season, they rallied together to pick up a 4-0 victory over Pillow Academy and advanced in the postseason.
"I'm obviously sick for Drew to be injured the way that he has at the end of his senior year, but I have happy to get goals from four different goal scorers," Starkville Academy soccer coach Robert Gardner said. "If you look at the stats for the whole year, they were really unlikely goal scorers. You've got two midfielders in Jack Burton and Jamison McKee, who have had good seasons, but just haven't scored a ton of goals this year. There's Dylan Dempsey getting on the end of it, making it four and Zach (Slaughter), who has scored three or four goals this year."
The Vols (15-3-2) have prepared for the next challenge and that comes on the road today in the semifinals against Jackson Academy. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.
Even though SA has not played against Jackson Academy this season, Gardner knows today's match will the next in a long line of tests.
"We've played a schedule this season we think has prepared us well for (tonight)," Gardner said. "It's not going to be easy and playing in the State semifinal, it's one of those where they will get our best effort and we'll get their best effort.
"At the end of the day, it's going to be a tight game. We know that. It's probably going to be a one-goal decision and we've got to make sure we stick to the plan, we keep our organization and we work hard as we're going to have to."