Cathedral boys, girls defeat Natchez High

Published 12:06 am Sunday, January 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — In its second season of existence, the Crying Towel is still dominated by Cathedral School.

What started as a joke between Natchez High School soccer coach Dennis Hogue and some Cathedral fans has turned into a tradition, one Cathedral currently has the upper hand with.

The Crying Towel is a towel listing the scores of the Natchez-Cathedral rivalry, beginning in the 2008-2009 season. And the Cathedral boys added another win to the towel, defeating the Bulldogs 2-1 Saturday evening.

“Every year, we’d always beat Cathedral at Cathedral, and Cathedral would beat us at home,” Hogue said. “Ever since we started it, Natchez hasn’t won game.”

The 2008-2009 season saw a tie and a win by Cathedral, and two wins for the Green Wave this season.

“This is our favorite game of the year,” Hogue said. “We always pencil it in for the last game of the year. It’s our hometown rivalry, so it almost means as much as a district game, because it’s for bragging rights.”

Natchez took an early 1-0 lead when Esteban Roman got it past the Cathedral keeper at the 25:20 mark in the first half.

As has been the case many times this season, that goal by their opponent got the Green Wave going. With less than two minutes before the end of the first half, Cole Mann shot a goal off a good pass from Andrew White to tie it 1-1 at intermission.

The Green Wave scored the game-winner around the 27-minute mark in the second half. Hunter Foster took a shot at the net, but the kick ricocheted off of the Natchez keeper. Aaron White then headed the ball in for the goal.

“It was another game we got behind and came back and won,” Cathedral head coach Paul Burns said. “We’re 15-2 this season, and I think 10 of those are games we came from behind to win.

“We played a little rough at the start, but we got better in the second half. Dennis has some good athletes, and they’re a quick team. He always has them ready to play, and they always play us tight.”

With the regular season out of the way for both teams, each coach will turn his attention to the playoffs.

“As soon as I know who our opponent is, I’ll go from there,” Burns said. “We’ll be off (today), and be back out there Monday practicing.”

Hogue has already identified an area his team must improve on in order to make some noise in the postseason.

“Our weakness is that we don’t win the 50-50 ball,” Hogue said. “When the ball is in the air, or two people are pursing it, we struggle with that. I don’t know if they’re not (playing) physical enough or what.”

Cathedral girls 2, Natchez 0

Goals by Cathedral’s Brooks Turner and Maddie Kirkwood sealed a game that Cathedral girls coach David Gaude said was frustrating at times.

“We got a few fouls at the end that we would have liked not to have,” Gaude said. “I’m hoping we were just sluggish. It’s the end of the season, so I think we were a little tired.”

Turner’s goal came 15 minutes into the game, and Kirkwood scored on a kick early late in the first half on a ball that went through the Natchez keeper’s fingers.

With the regular season behind them, the Cathedral players and coaches will now prepare for its postseason opponent.

“It looks like we’ll be playing Sacred Heart in Hattiesburg next Tuesday,” Gaude said. “It’s two hours away, but it’s not a bad trip. Still, playing at home would have been an advantage.”