Lady Bobcats ready to host MACJC State Soccer Tournament
Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Submitted: 2010-10-21 15:49:37
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – The Jones County Junior College Lady Bobcats knew they might have a special season back during Labor Day weekend.
At home on Sept. 4 against sixth-ranked Polk State College (Fla.), JCJC played the Vikings to a 1-1 tie.
Lady Bobcat head coach Dolores Deasley was curious to see how they would fare against a nationally rated foe.
“When the girls heard they were ranked No. 6 in the nation, they were like, ‘Oh, gosh. What have you set us up for? Are we going to get killed?’ I did not know what to expect, either,” she said. “But I saw Polk play Gulf Coast before they played us and I knew that we could compete with them.
“So for us, it was a matter of being well organized. It was a challenge for us to see how we compared against one of the better teams in the nation and we matched up pretty well with them.”
Even though they did not win the game, Jones has used the contest as a catalyst to its most successful season in the history of the women’s soccer program – so far.
JCJC captured its first ever MACJC South Division crown by defeating Southwest, 4-0, last Friday. That gave the Lady Bobcats a school-record 12 victories and an overall record of 12-2-1. They ended league play at 7-1.
“It has been a great year,” Deasley said. “The girls have done a good job.”
By winning the division, the Lady Bobcats have earned the host role for the 2010 MACJC State Soccer Tournament this weekend.
It’s the first time the state tournament will be played on the JCJC campus. In 2004, JCJC was the host team but the tournament had to be played at William Carey in Hattiesburg because the field at that time did not meet specifications.
Four games will be played Saturday and the women and men’s championship games will be played Sunday afternoon at Bobcat Soccer Field.
“We are definitely excited to be hosting,” Deasley said. “Last week, our goal was to win our two games, so we could win the South Division and host the state tournament. When we realized that the division winner would host, that was exciting.
“So, we are delighted with what we have achieved so far.”
On the women’s side of the tournament, JCJC takes on Itawamba Community College (7-10) at 1 p.m. on Saturday, while Hinds Community College (10-6) faces Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (11-3-1) at 9 a.m. For the men, Hinds (14-2) meets Pearl River Community College (11-3-1) at 11 a.m. and Gulf Coast (13-1) takes on Holmes Community College (10-4) at 3 p.m.
The women’s championship game will be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday, followed by the men’s game at 3 p.m. If lights are available at the field, all game times will be moved back one hour.
The Lady Bobcats expected to have a good season this year. Deasley felt they did not reach their potential in 2009 when they finished just shy of the playoffs, despite posting an 11-4 record.
“My sophomores this year realize what they could have done as freshmen last year,” she said. “I think they know they underachieved last year, so coming into this year, they wanted to do better. From day one, they have known what it is all about.”
Deasley has been very pleased with the play of her entire team, especially the six sophomores.
Aubrey Weems of Madison Central, Mallory Cowart of South Jones, Bridget Dennis of West Jones and Dana Ivey, Arlette Cochran and Jamie Miller all of George County have been stalwarts all season for the Lady Bobcats. Dennis and Ivey are team captains.
“We have two captains, but we could have a lot of others,” said Deasley. “Aubrey Weems has been a great leader since day one. Jamie Miller has been excellent. Mallory is a great role model on the field with her die-hard work ethic. She’s been outstanding. Arlette and Dana went off in the summer, worked very hard and got themselves in terrific shape.
“Bridget is an all-around athlete. She has shown improvement since last year and has committed to play at Southern Miss next year. That’s a testament to how hard she has worked.”
Deasley said the sophomores have set the tempo for this year’s team, not only as student-athletes, but off campus as well.
“I am really delighted with my whole group of sophomores,” she said. “I was thinking back to last year and that was a team capable of a lot more. But the difference between last year and this year is the character of each player.
“The players want to achieve success, they are disciplined in the classroom, they are disciplined off the field and they do what they are asked to do. They have the mindset that they want to be successful. It’s a group of 20 girls, so they will have some issues here and there. But overall, they’ve been a really good bunch.”
On the field, Deasley points to JCJC’s ability on the defensive end as being a key to this year’s success. The Lady Bobcats – with Mobile, Ala., freshman Michelle Brumfield in goal – have posted nine shutouts and made it difficult for the opposition to advance the ball downfield.
“Coming into this season, the main thing for me was to be strong and organized defensively,” Deasley said. “If we could eliminate goals being scored, then we really could not go wrong. Our defense has been superb.
“Obviously in our game against Polk, we proved a lot. I think they may have been a better team than us, but we were organized defensively and held them to one goal. We had nine shutouts this season and I’m very happy with that aspect. Our group of five defenders, plus my goalkeeper, has performed well. Hopefully, we can continue that this weekend.”
On offense, Danica Roberts, a freshman from Liversedge, England, has put up big numbers for JCJC. Roberts leads the state in goals scored with 15 and has compiled 32 points. Madison Central freshman Macey Endris has 21 points (9 goals and 3 assists), Dennis has 19 points (7 goals and 5 assists) and Madison Central freshman Chelsea Wooten has 17 points (6 goals and 5 assists).
As far as the opening round opponent, the Lady Bobcats are somewhat familiar with Itawamba.
JCJC beat the Lady Indians 3-0 back in the season opener on Aug. 28 in Fulton. But Deasley said her group would not take Itawamba for granted.
“We have already beaten Itawamba on the road this year, but we will not take them lightly,” she said. ‘”That was early in the season and they have had a lot of time to prepare and get better. The game will be 0-0 come 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon and I’m expecting a tough game.
“Itawamba was a decent team. They were strong and had some very athletic players and they have some talent on that team. Saturday will be a whole different ballgame than the first game. They are not traveling four hours to give it to us easily.”
JCJC still has several goals it wants to accomplish this season. In fact, they set the bar very high to start the year, wanting to go undefeated.
“One of our goals this season was to go undefeated,” Deasley said. “We went to Perk (on Sept. 11) and lost (1-0) and messed that up. So, we quickly changed that goal to going undefeated at home and so far we have done that. Hopefully, that can last through the weekend.”
Deasley is happy with where the Lady Bobcats stand at the moment. And she is thrilled with the fact the state tournament is being played at Jones for the first time in school history.
“It is great for soccer in Jones County,” she said. “Hopefully, we can attract some kids from the local league to come out this weekend. I think it’s big for this area.
“Everyone I’ve talked to has said, ‘Congratulations!’ and they know we are hosting. They know we are doing well and they know good things are happening on this campus. Hopefully, we can have a great weekend.
“Going into this weekend, we know we could possibly underachieve and I would be very disappointed if we did not finish it off. But we are starting with a clean slate now. “
The winners of the state tournament will advance to the Region 23 Tournament, which will be held at the site of the state men’s champion.
It will be held the weekend of Oct. 30-31 with the women’s state champion facing Meridian Community College in the title game. The winner of that game will advance to the district tournament for a matchup with top-ranked Tyler Junior College (Texas) in Tyler on Nov. 7.
There will be two matches in the men’s regional tournament. Meridian will take on the MACJC runnerup in a semifinal contest with the winner facing the state champion for the title. Again, the winner would face Tyler Junior College in a district tournament game.
The winners of the district tournament games advance to the nationals.
The women’s NJCAA National Soccer Tournament will be Nov. 18-21 in Topeka, Kan., while the men’s national tournament will be Nov.18-21 in Tyler, Texas.
- Admission is $5.
- Tournament programs are $2.
- Tournament t-shirts are $15.
- Game times will be moved back one hour if lights are available.
- Concession stand will be available. (Hamburgers, sausage dogs, soft drinks, candy, etc.)
- Tournament scores will be updated on www.jcjc.edu and on Twitter at jcjc_athletics.
- DVDs of each tournament game are expected to be available for purchase within two weeks after the tournament.
2010 MACJC STATE SOCCER TOURNAMENT
MACJC Soccer Tournament
At Bobcat Soccer Field
9 a.m., women, Hinds (North 1) vs. Gulf Coast (South 2)
11 a.m., men, Hinds (North 1) vs. Pearl River (South 2)
1 p .m., women, Jones (South 1) vs. Itawamba (North 2)
3 p.m., men, Gulf Coast (South 1) vs. Holmes (North 2)
1 p.m., women’s championship
3 p.m., men’s championship