First thing’s first: Natchez, Vidalia play in historic inaugural soccer game Monday

Published 11:15 pm Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday night was a game of firsts for Natchez High School under the lights of Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium. But as the Lady Bulldogs (1-1) notched their first victory of the soccer season, the opposing Vidalia Lady Vikings also had a historic night.

The two schools played for the first time, while both are led by first-year coaches.

“Believe it or not, I’m really beginning to love it,” Natchez coach Larry Wesley said. “It’s really cool because we don’t have to go far to play them, and plus the competition is great.”

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To make the win even sweeter — in which they celebrated with an energized team huddle led by Kennedy Wansley — the Lady Bulldogs needed just one goal to win, 1-0.

Shekinah Hoskins scored the goal for Natchez early in the first half.

“That was fantastic,” Wesley said. “Whenever we have a game like this, it’s great for our area — great for the community. We are constantly coming together to make things happen.”

First-year Vidalia coach Adam Terragnoli not only has the job of establishing a program to call his own, but he has started from scratch — aiding the efforts to build a Viking soccer program for the first time in school history.

While his ladies weren’t able to secure their first-ever win Monday, Terragnoli said the excitement has yet to vanish since the school’s first game in mid-November.

“We are excited to have a program,” he said. “I think there were a lot of people excited for soccer and a lot of people just curious about it, too. The curiosity has manifested itself into a lot of athletes coming out and competing and doing very well.”

Terragnoli added Monday’s loss served as a major confidence booster for the Lady Vikings (0-4).

“I think we are really coming together as a team,” he said. “This was the hardest fought game we’ve had this season. I think if they put in the work over the (holiday) break, we can be really successful when we get back.”

So what are the chances of a rivalry forming between Natchez and Vidalia soccer?

While Terragnoli said he thinks it might take a few years, he can definitely see something developing.

“Right now it’s not much since they are in Louisiana and they are in Mississippi, but there really could be something there,” he said. “Their coaches have been great to us and really an overall great resource to us. I hope a rivalry can spark up.”

Wesley seemed a little more sure about the matter.

“No doubt,” he said. “I really am looking forward to next year. Vidalia should have a pretty good team.

“It really is exciting because it’s something different. Win or lose, it’s a good feeling for everybody.”

Natchez (boys) 3, Vidalia 1

Natchez boys defeated Vidalia in their first-ever matchup, 3-1.

Darrell Stewart poured in the first two goals for the Bulldogs, with Amani Thomas adding the third.

Ronaldo Us kicked in the only goal for Vidalia with the assist from Bin Van.