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Seniors go out strong for SA soccer

September 28, 2012

(FILE) – Senior Tiffany Huddleston scored a pair of goals for Starkville Academy during the final home soccer match. (Photos by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The smile that came across the face of Emilie Sanders said it all Thursday afternoon.

All of the seniors for the Starkville Academy girls soccer team saw action during the final home match and all of them scored a goal during an 11-0 victory over Copiah Academy at the Starkville Sportsplex.

Sanders was the final senior to get in on the fun in the later stages of the second half.

For a player who mainly concentrates on defense, Sanders said it was nice to be able to put a shot in the net.

"It's a huge relief," Sanders said. "I've always played defensive line and never got to play top. You score all of the time in practice and it's so much different in the game."

It was an emotional day for Sanders, being the final home match. She cried during the pre-match ceremony and again after she scored the goal.
Along with Sanders, Tiffany Huddleston, Tiffany Evans, Jessica Dennis and Garland Willcutt were the other seniors to score. Huddleston had a pair of goals.

"It's a good way to end it for all the seniors," Huddleston said. "It's a good ending."

Willcutt, primarily a goal keeper for the Lady Volunteers, was given a chance to play up top in the second half when she scored.

"It was different," Willcutt said. "I'd rather be in the goal. It's different seeing it from the other end."

Starkville Academy coach Robert Gardner was glad to see all of the seniors contribute in the scoring column.

Gardner said it was "mission accomplished" in sending the seniors out the right way.

"It's been a good three years for the group and this is the class I've had the most attachment with," Gardner said. "They were the biggest group of upperclassmen I had when I first came in and honestly, that group has made my job easier than it would have been because of the class they play with and the character they have as people. It's been a fun run with that bunch and I will miss them."

Evans and Dennis both called their final home match "bittersweet" because one chapter of their life closes and another one opens.

"I'm definitely going to miss playing high school soccer, but looking forward to the next step in life," Dennis said. "I'm ready to move on, but it's been a great year and I've really enjoyed playing with these girls.

"Being able to get everybody a goal in this final home game is special and something I will always be able to appreciate and I know they will as well. For me, it's something I hope they will be able to talk about years down the road, enjoy the moment and appreciate it more."

The Lady Vols jumped out to a comfortable 7-0 lead at halftime. Other than the goals by Huddleston, Evans and Dennis, Sydney Passons, Hannah Huddleston and Maridee Higginbotham scored.

In the second half, SA got one goal each from Willcutt, Sanders, Becca Swan and Mary Adele Rackley.

With the victory, the Lady Vols improved their records to 7-9 overall and 4-4 in Class AAA-District 2. They will be on the road for playoff action Tuesday against Pillow Academy.

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