Natchez boys remain in playoff hunt with win over Provine, 3-2

Published 12:14 am Saturday, January 14, 2017

Natchez High School’s Eric Terrell had a senior night to remember as he scored all three goals in his team’s 3-2 victory over Provine Friday Night.

The win was the first of the season for the Bulldogs (1-5) and kept their chances alive for a run in the playoffs.

“When they graduate, at least they will know they won a game,” Natchez coach Dai Vu said. “That’s the best moment.”

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Terrell used his fast feet to outrun defenders and waited until the right moment to strike. He took five shots on the night, missing just two.

“As I was going through the game, I paid attention that their goalie really couldn’t catch, and every time he would run out he would leave the goal open,” he said. “As I kept looking, I was trying to hurry up and get the ball because I knew I could shoot it past him.”

The Bulldogs were first to score after nailing an open goal in the first half. After halftime, however, the defense allowed Provine to score twice.

Goalkeeper Cornelius Bailey finished the game with seven saves, aiding Natchez in its efforts to hold on until the clock expired.

Terrell, who played goalkeeper last year, knows the pressure that can surround the defense at the end of a close game.

“We need to work on defense,” he said. “We got it, but we need to the help the goalkeeper stay calm.”

“Our team is very young this year,” Vu said. “We still need to practice our ball control and quick movement.”

Natchez will play its final two regular season games next week, starting with Brookhaven at home on Tuesday night.

With a win, Natchez will clinch its spot in the postseason.

“We worked hard today,” Vu said. “This is the first time that I have seen my team work together, rather than giving up.”

Provine (girls) 3, Natchez 2

As the girls soccer team walked off the field, TaSondryana Williams was at the front of the pack.

Despite the loss to Provine 3-0, Williams held her head high and still chanted “Go Blue.”

“The seniors knew that if we won, we would be in the playoffs,” Lady Bulldog coach Jessica Stevenson said. “That’s what kept them going during the game.”

Natchez had a hard time finding an offensive rhythm from the start, and the only two chances for a goal in the first half came off of fast breaks.

Although the majority of play occurred towards the opposing goal, NHS picked up the pace in the second half. Williams led the offense with two shots and was matched by LaDaria Johnson, also with two shots.

“They never gave up,” Stevenson said.

The strong defense was what saved the game from getting out of hand for Natchez. The Lady Bulldog defenders found a way to kick the ball out of bounds when needed, and freshman goalkeeper Iyanna Holmes had 15 saves.

“The whole team is basically new,” Stevenson said. “We only have maybe one experienced player in each position, and Iyanna has been out all week and jumped in today. We are going to grow from here, and they will learn what they need to do.”