By LEE ADAMS
Despite a Tiffany Huddleston hat trick, Starkville Academy dropped its first division game of the week, 6-4 to Presbyterian Christian.
Huddleston's three goals were all in the first half, and all came when the Volunteers were trailing. Her first was an equalizer on a header off a corner kick, and her second also tied the game. However, the Bobcats held the lead for most of the first half beginning when they scored in the first minute of play. Huddleston's third and final goal came just before halftime to pull the Volunteers within one at the break.
Trailing 4-3, Starkville Academy knew they had to come out strong in the second half, but instead they appeared to come out a little flat which could be due to the Vols not making many substitutions and fatigue set in.
"We didn't play a ton of players today and playing 80 minutes in high pressure is going to wear on you physically," said Starkville Academy head coach Robert Gardner. "Our midfield looked kind of worn out for the first 20-25 minutes and then after that we got our lungs and we were able to forth a very good effort in the last 15 minutes which I was proud of."
The Bobcats extended their lead to 5-3 midway through the second half, but Jordan Jackson cut their lead back down to one with under three minutes remaining in the game.
With time running out, the Volunteers went into high gear trying to score the equalizer. However, it was the Bobcats who found the back of the net when Kelsay Hannaford ran past the diving keeper on her way to score her fourth goal of the match. The Bobcats picked up the 6-4 win, handing the Volunteers their third division loss this year.
"I'm extremely proud of our effort, but we gave up some needless goals," said Gardner. "I'm not going to be disappointed by our effort today, but you just hate to give away stupid goals when you work as hard as we did and we certainly gave away some stupid ones today."
The Bobcats improve to 9-2, 6-1 this season and the Volunteers fall to 5-4, 2-3. The Vols will get a chance to redeem this loss today when they host East Rankin at 3 p.m. for another division showdown.