Junior Colleges

Gulf Coast bows out of state soccer playoffs

TRACY DUNCAN/HINDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE 
 Mississippi Gulf Coast keeper Bryce Yelverton tries to clear a Hinds cross.
TRACY DUNCAN/HINDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE Mississippi Gulf Coast keeper Bryce Yelverton tries to clear a Hinds cross.

SUN HERALD

RAYMOND -- Mississippi Gulf Coast's soccer season came to an end Friday night as MACJC state tournament host Hinds bounced the Bulldogs 4-1 at Tom Shepherd Park.

All the goals were scored in the first half, with Gulf Coast players a step behind Hinds.

"They scored on three rebounds," Gulf Coast coach Chris Handy said. "I thought in the first half they wanted it a little bit more than we did. They picked up every second ball, including the ones in front of goal."

Gulf Coast, the South Division No. 2 seed, finishes the season 14-5. Hinds (12-4), which completed an undefeated North slate, will play South Division champ Pear River Community College at noon Saturday for the title.

The Bulldogs won the first meeting between the teams 2-1 in overtime in August, but there would be no repeat in the postseason.

Hinds scored goals 66 seconds apart in the first 6 minutes of play to seize control of the game. Rafael Vedanta scored off a rebound to open scoring, an indicator of things to come. KJ Armstrong made it 2-0 shortly thereafter.

Gulf Coast looked like they'd gotten foothold just over three minutes later. Lewis Tillman curled a ball into the lower corner with 36:20 left in the first half.

But Hinds' Sess Means scored in the 23rd minute on another rebound of a free kick, and Ryan Thomas did it again with 74 seconds left before halftime.

"In the second half, we didn't score but it was a lot clearer that we wanted it a little bit more than we did in the first," Handy said. "The second-half result was a little bit better. In the end they finished better, they played better."

Gulf Coast was riding a five-game win streak headed into the final four, but the season came to an abrupt end.

"I think they had a good season. Obviously that's not the way we wanted to end it, but I can't be mad at the season-long progress this team made," Handy said. "They fought hard all season. There were a couple of hiccups, but for the most part they met every challenge"

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