Soccer players storm Games
By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
June 22, 2003
Meridian was invaded by vehicles of all shapes and sizes with window paintings proclaiming things like "MYSO No. 1" and "Go for gold Pearl."
It was the signs of youth soccer kicking off at the State Games of Mississippi, and the action on the field lived up to the hype on the windows.
Sixty-three male and female teams converged onto the pitches at the Jaycee Soccer Complex and the Northeast Park Soccer Complex to battle for the gold medal in boys' and girls' 8-and-under to 16-and-under divisions.
The squads from across the Magnolia State were also fortunate to be playing on a near perfect day for soccer.
The first official day of summer delivered sun-soaked fields accompanied by a steady breeze to keep the temperatures from getting too hot.
Soccer's opening day set the stage for today's medal rounds in the age groups, as teams battled through pool play earing three points for a win, one point for a tie and no points for a loss.
The two Meridian squads in the only division not to have both a female and male field came out of the opening day in good position to earn medals today.
MYSO Owen went undefeated in the three-team "U" bracket to earn an automatic berth into the semifinals, which begin at 11 a.m.
MYSO Owen scored wins over Clinton and Singing River Soccer Club (SRSC) by finals of 8-2 and 3-0, respectively.
Clinton and Singing River will meet in a playoff game at 7 a.m. today for a chance to move into the semifinals.
MYSO Wilson also snatched up a spot in the semifinal round tallying wins of 3-1 and 2-1 over South Madison and Northwest Rankin Athletic Association (NWRAA) in the "T" bracket.
MYSO Wilson appeared to heading for a showdown with MYSO Owen in the semis, but the "T" bracket, which had four teams, had a team disqualified after the final match of the day.
The Columbus Krew were disqualified from the two-day tournament when it was confirmed by the Mississippi Youth Soccer Association registrar's office that the squad had a player from a DI select team on its roster. The State Games tournament is for recreational players and teams only.
This bumped MYSO Wilson up to the top spot in the bracket, and the team will face the winner of the Clinton/SRSC game at 11 a.m.
MYSO Owen will play South Madison, which finished second in the bracket by a score-differential tie breaker over NWRAA, in the other semifinal contest.
SRSC leads the boys' portion of the division with four points after the opening round of competition, and Pearl holds the No. 2 spot with three points.
In the girls' division, Clinton took the lead after day one with four points, and NWRAA and SRSC share second place with three points each.
The boys' division has an even eight teams, and the girls' division has six teams vying for the gold.
Because of the even numbers in the divisions, play for U14 continues with pool play today to determine which teams will play for the gold, silver and bronze medals.
U14 resumes play at 7 a.m. today at Northeast Park.
The Laurel Jones County Soccer Association (LJCSA) U12 girls' squad earned its spot in the gold-medal game against George Greene Soccer Association (GGSA) by pitching a shut out in pool play.
LJCSA goalie Carly Jo Winship didn't allow a goal in three games, as the squad notched 12 goals in three games.
GGSA kept the ball out of its goal en route to a perfect record in pool play, notching wins of 3-0, 5-0 and 3-0.
On the boys' side, Greenwood will square off against Clinton Inferno in the gold-medal match.
The medal contest for the girls begin at 10 a.m., and the boys follow at 11:30 a.m.
The South Madison Mustangs will meet the Pearl Big Dogs in a semifinal match pitting the top teams from the "F" and "H" brackets against each other in the boys' division, and SRSC will take on Greenwood in the other semifinal game.
The boys' semifinals start at 7 a.m., and the winners of the two contests will play for the gold at 11:30 a.m.
In the girls' division, the Brandon Blaze will take on the South Madison Strikers, while the Hattiesburg Youth Soccer Association (HYSA) plays the Laurel Youth Soccer Association in the other semifinals match starting at 8:30 a.m.
The medal games for the girls begin at 1 p.m.
The NEJSO Terminators will take on OSSO in the boys' gold medal contest at 8:30 p.m.
The girls' side of the division will feature a playoff at 7 p.m. with SRSC taking on Greenwood; LYCSA playing NEJSO Chili Peppers; and Vicksburg squaring off against MYSO.
South Madison will play the winner of the Vicksburg/MYSO game at 10 a.m. in the semifinals, and the other semifinal will feature the winners of the games between SRSC/Greenwood and LYCSA/NEJSO Chilli Peppers.
The medal round for the girls begins at 1 p.m.