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Lady Raiders score spot in MPSA finals

By Staff
SHE SHOOTS, SHE SCORES Lamar School striker Amy Swartzfager gets a shot off at the top of Starkville Academy's goalbox, as two defenders converge on her. Swartzfager scored on the shot to give the Lady Raiders' a 1-0 win in the MPSA semifinal match. Lamar will play Jackson Prep at 3 p.m. Thursday on the road in the championship game. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Oct. 7, 2003
After being on the cusp of the Mississippi Private Schools Association girls' soccer championship game last season, Lamar School wasn't going to be denied its chance for a state title this time.
The Lady Raiders (10-2) earned a berth in the final game of the season with a 1-0 victory over the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers.
Lamar was eliminated from the playoffs last year in the semifinals by Pillow Academy.
Making it to the finals may have been a dream for the team, but Monday's contest at the Northeast Park Soccer Complex certainly didn't start out the way the team imagined.
The Lady Raiders, who have been able to dominate teams on their home field using crisp passes and ball control, struggled to command the flow of the game in the opening 10 minutes.
Lamar frequently had passes fall short on the damp field, and Starkville was able to apply early pressure on the Lady Raiders defense.
After the play went back and forth during the opening minutes, Swartzfager was able to score the game's lone goal in the 11th minute.
Lady Raiders right winger Sumner Brown threaded a pass to Swartzfager at the top of the Lady Volunteers' goalbox.
A Starkville defender blocked Swartzfager's initial shot, but she was able to power the deflection into the left side of the net with her left for the game-winning goal.
Lamar's defense kept Starkville off the board the rest of the way, anchored by the play of Luquire.
The senior goalkeeper made 11 saves to record the shutout win, and she charged out of her net on a number of occasions to stop the Lady Volunteers' scoring threats.
The Lady Raiders defense also did its fair share of the work to make the one goal lead stand up over the game's final 69 minutes.
In the game's 64th minute Lamar's defense deflected away a head ball and a shot inside the box off a Starkville corner kick to preserve the lead.
The Lady Raiders will meet Jackson Prep in the MPSA state championship game at 3 p.m. Thursday on the road. Jackson Prep defeated Pillow 4-1.