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ACCS turns the tables on Copiah Academy on senior night

Adams County Christian School’s Merritt Murray, left, and Anna Babb celebrate with Jordan Parker after Parker scored to give the Lady Rebels a 1-0 lead over Copiah Academy Monday, a score ACCS would go on to win by. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Three separate times, the Adams County Christian School girls soccer team went to overtime against Copiah Academy in recent years.

And all three times, they ended up losing on penalty kick shootouts.

But the Lady Rebels, led by three seniors, kept Copiah Academy from hitting the net Monday evening, and ACCS came away with a 1-0 victory.

The lone ACCS goal came courtesy of Jordan Parker in the 16th minute of the third quarter. The win was especially sweet for seniors Elizabeth Fazzio, Merritt Murray and Mollie Simpson, who were honored before the game as part of senior night.

“We put our heart into the game, because it was our last home game,” Fazzio said. “We told everyone that (the seniors would) appreciate it if they went a little bit harder.”

Head coach Jimmy Allgood said the win was the first “complete soccer match” his team has played this year.

“From start to finish, they played heavy, heavy defense that allowed us many scoring opportunities,” Allgood said.

The Lady Rebels attempted 15 shots on goal to Copiah Academy’s 17, but Emily Williams once again got the shutout for ACCS at keeper.

Parker looks to get the ball around Copiah Academy’s Alex Jones during Monday’s game. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

“I can’t say enough about her as a keeper,” Allgood said. “The offense started with her. She has great keeper skills. She stopped three shots on goal that, two seasons ago, would have gone in along with many more.”

Parker’s goal came after Murray took a shot on goal that bounced off the left frame, and Parker ran up behind it to punch it in.

“That’s what we seem to be best at,” Murray said of having Parker back her up.

Allgood said his seniors stepped up in order to finally win one against Copiah Academy.

“Going into the final 20-minute (quarter), the seniors said, ‘No PKs tonight,’” Allgood said. “It feels great.”

Simpson said the support the seniors got from the underclassmen is what made the win possible.

“Our team loves our seniors,” Simpson said. “They get advice from us. They may get mad at us sometimes, but they know we’re just trying to make them better.”

With a 5 p.m. start time Monday, the team was forced to play under the florescent lights, something Simpson said she enjoyed. At first, Simpson said she didn’t realize the game would require the lights until someone pointed out to her the later-than-usual start time.

“I was kind of excited,” Simpson said.

Despite having several more games on the road, Fazzio said winning her final home game was bittersweet.

“We have (today), Wednesday and the playoffs, but not getting to play at AC anymore is kind of sad,” Fazzio said.

Even after the Lady Rebels’ season ends, Murray will have the added benefit of playing in the MAIS soccer All-Star game Oct. 10 in Pearl.

“I thought it was a longshot because I only played two years, but I was ecstatic when I found out,” Murray said.

The Lady Rebels had a scare midway through the fourth quarter when Anna Babb sustained a lower left leg injury after getting sandwiched between several other players during a shot on goal. Allgood said the injury wasn’t serious, and Babb went on to play in the team’s junior varsity game.

ACCS will travel to Oak Forest today for a 4 p.m. game.