Pearl River women show heart, snap No. 12 JC’s shutout streak

Itawamba Community College traveled to Pearl River Community College on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. PRCC men won 4-0, while ICC women claimed a 4-1 victory. (BRETT RUSS/PRCC ATHLETICS)
Itawamba Community College traveled to Pearl River Community College on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. PRCC men won 4-0, while ICC women claimed a 4-1 victory. (BRETT RUSS/PRCC ATHLETICS)

ELLISVILLE — Pearl River's women gave No. 12 Jones College all it could handle on a soggy Bobcats soccer field Tuesday. The Lady Wildcats had the first and final chances on goal, but it was the homestanding Lady Bobcats found the back of the net twice to take a 2-1 victory.

"I hate to use the phrase 'moral victory' but we lost Sarah (Havens) and went down to 10 players and the girls pulled together," PRCC coach Jack Byrd said. "Adversity used to tear this team down and now it's building this team up. I couldn't be prouder as a coach."

Minutes after Havens was shown a red card, PRCC found the back of the net. Trailing 2-0 in the 76thminute, Rena Gordon (Clarendon, Jamaica) worked her way down the field, had her back to the goal, spun and delivered a strike over the fingertips of the JC keeper but just under the crossbar.

The goal was the first JC (4-0) has conceded this season.

"Rena beat seven players, backed up, beat three, and toe punched it," Byrd said. 

Candyce Martin (Gautier) came up big in the 13thminute, making one of seven saves on a point-blank shot that was centered and then sent on net. Ten minutes later, after a lengthy weather delay, JC scored off of a free kick from about 35 yards out that deflected off the wall and past the keeper.

PRCC (2-4) came out firing in the second half. Havens headed a ball past the JC defense in the 55thminute to send Gordon in on goal, but the Jamaican sailed her chance.

Seven minutes later it was Gordon once again who gave PRCC a chance. Cameron McLauren sprinted the length of the field on a JC corner and threaded a pass to Gordon, who barely missed to the left of the net.

Mikayla Banks pushed JC ahead 2-0 in the 65thminute when she broke in alone on goal and was able to deke around the keeper.

Gordon had one last chance at an equalizer with three minutes remaining, but a defender in the box deflected her shot.

PRCC's late pressure had JC's bench begging for the Bobcats to just clear the ball out of harm's way.

"Down 1-0, what was heroic about my girls is three weeks ago they  would have put their head down and lost by eight because they didn't know who they were or have an identity," Byrd said. "We took the game back, came out in the second half and really put them on their heels from the first 20 seconds."

Pearl River is back on the pitch with a road match at East Central. The match, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 19 but was moved due to Tropical Storm Gordon, is set to start at 3 p.m.

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