SHS uses defense to beat Tupelo 1-0
Starkville's Daniel Fumo (21) gets control of the soccer ball Tuesday night, while JR Tomlinson (4) and goal keeper Addison Watson, background, look on. (Kim Murrell/SDN)
By DANNY P. SMITH
Soccer wins are difficult to achieve against the Tupelo Golden Wave.
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Sometimes there has to be a little bit of luck involved.
On Thursday night at Yellowjacket Stadium, Starkville High School played a solid match and got a little bit of good fortunate at the end to claim a 1-0 victory against Tupelo.
It was the second home match win in a row for the Yellowjackets, which is a feat believed to have not ever occurred before.
"I've been around for a long time and I don't think it's ever happened," Starkville boys soccer coach Brian Bennett said. "(All of the credit) goes all to them. The kids played hard."
The Jackets, who improved their records to 13-0-1 overall and 2-0 in the division, saw the Golden Wave get in position to possibly tie the match with a corner-kick opportunity at the end.
Tupelo and Starkville players collided near the net and the soccer ball bounced away from the goal.
Bennett was glad to see his squad benefit from the circumstances of the final play.
"We've had years where we've had those chances and couldn't put them away at the end," Bennett said.
SHS junior goal keeper Addison Watson, who had a good look at the final play, complimented the defensive effort throughout the match.
"They had a lot of chances, but I've got to hand it to the defense," Watson said. "The defense played well throughout the game. We let up a little in the second half and didn't play as well as we should have, but that first half was hot.
"When we went into the huddle, the thing we said was owning the first 15 minutes and that's exactly what we did. We owned the first 40 minutes. Now, we've just got to own that second 40."
Bennett said it did appear that the Jackets went into an "protect-the-lead mode" in the second half, but thought the field conditions may have played a part in that as a sprinkle of rain began to fall by the end of the match.
"With the little bit of rain and the slickness (of the field), both teams were sliding around a little bit," Bennett said.
Starkville's Alvaro Pichardo kicked in the only goal about 5 minutes into the match from 19-feet out and it ended up standing.
Watson said it's a satisfying feeling for the Jackets to be able to knock off Tupelo at home for the second-straight year.
"It's really good to take them twice here at the house just for the fans," Watson said. "You've got to hand it to the rest of the team because they put the effort forth in practice and it shows here."
Starkville hosts Columbus Thursday for Senior Night. The match begins at 7 p.m.