After a 5-1 win over rival St. Martin on Friday night, Ocean Springs soccer coach Jeff French is happy with where the defending Class 6A South State champions are, although he says they still are not peaking.
“I think we are starting to click a little bit,” French said. “We are 20 seconds from being undefeated (a 1-0 loss to Northwest Rankin on Dec. 3 that was tied for most of the game). I think we are in a good spot.”
Ocean Springs dominated the game Friday from start to finish, playing most of the match on St. Martin’s side of the pitch. The Greyhounds (9-1-2) solved the Yellow Jackets’ defense 10 minutes into the game with Kealan Baggett double clutching but finding an opening on the right side of the St. Martin goal.
French said he thought his team came out a little cold as the temperatures dipped drastically due to a polar vortex settling over the nation.
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“It’s the first cold spell of the year,” French said. “It took a few minutes, but with the first goal, I think we settled in offensively.”
Ten minutes after Baggett’s goal, Forrest Jackson scored to push the Greyhounds’ lead to 2-0. Then within the final two minutes of the half, Baggett found Caleb Burke for Burke’s first goal of the game. Burke also scored the final goal of the game.
“In a game like this, you want to be relentless with effort and energy,” French said. “We got a lot of players into the game. That will help us later in the season.”
Mike Jimenez was the fourth player to score on the night for Ocean Springs, putting the Greyhounds up 4-0.
Ocean Springs came into the game allowing just one late goal to Northwest Rankin in their last four games.
St. Martin (6-7) scored its only goal when D.J. Dismuke ran the field at the 32-minute mark.
Ocean Springs girls 3, St. Martin 0: Kalee Foster scored two goals within the first 10 minutes of play as the Greyhounds cruised over St. Martin.
The win gave the defending Class 6A, Region 7 champions a 2-0 region mark with the next game Tuesday against George County.
“We are in a very good spot tonight,” said first-year Ocean Springs coach Ryan Joiner.
Joiner said the Greyhounds (6-3-3) were starting to learn his system and the way he wanted them to play.
“We have played one of the toughest schedules in the state,” Joiner said, adding the Greyhounds have played what he considers four of the top 10 teams in the state. “Those games show us where we are at and what we need to get better at..”
Although the Greyhounds played most of the game on the St. Martin side of the pitch, the Yellow Jackets (5-6) were able to keep the ball out of the net.
Kayley Fountain put Ocean Springs up 3-0 with a goal seven minutes into the second half.