Temperatures might be colder in the Starkville area, but things are heating up on the soccer fields of Starkville High.
With regular season action complete, both Yellowjacket squads will enter playoff competition this week.
After going 6-5-3 overall and 3-1 in their division, the Lady Jackets will start things off with tonight's contest against Oxford.
SHS girls coach Anna Albritton does have some familiarity with the Lady Chargers after facing them twice last season, but is having to rely on the kindness of others to know what her team is up against this time.
“We played them last year and we split with them,” Albritton said. “We went up there during the regular season and won, then they beat us during the playoffs. We tried to get on their schedule this season, but it just didn’t work out. I’ve spoken with some other coaches and they have given me some idea of what to expect heading into the game.”
Albritton may not have current knowledge of Oxford, but what she does know is that her team stands as the No. 1 seed and they are ready for whatever comes their way.
“Looking back over the season, I am impressed with our team and where we are,” Albritton said. “Cailee Helen McClain and Noa Hardin have both done a tremendous job for us. Hannah Laird has been great in the middle and then you have Cam (Dawkins) our 8th grade goalkeeper. I just cannot say enough about her and the entire team’s effort this season.”
Albritton anticipates a tightly fought contest and encourages fans to come out “cowbells in hand” to support the hometown team as they welcome the team from the city of Mississippi State's biggest rival (Ole Miss).
Tonight's action is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. with a $7 admission.
Starkville fans don't have much time to rest before heading back out to cheer on the boys team, which welcomes Saltillo to town on Wednesday.
The Yellowjackets enter playoff competition with a 12-1-1 overall record and stand at 3-0 divisionally.
As a No. 1 seed, SHS looks to repeat last year’s success that saw the team clinch its first State championship.
Before the Jackets can hoist another championship banner, they have to go through a tough Saltillo team. Starkville does have a few players on the team who are familiar with playoff competition.
One such threat is Justin Gordon who scored the winning goal last season to claim state championship victory for the Jackets over Pascagoula.
Action between SHS and Saltillo takes place at 6 p.m. at home. Admission is set for $7 for the boys match as well.