Both the Oxford Chargers and the Lafayette Commodores fared well in the Oxford Showcase totaling eight varsity games being held during the day with plenty of positives to come away with. The Showcase was held at mTrade Park all day Saturday.
The Lady Commodores (3-0) came away knowing the offensive power they possess this season with a 4-2 win over the Lewisburg Lady Patriots and a mercy-ruled 7-0 victory over the Southaven Lady Chargers, totaling 11 goals on the day for the two-time defending 5A champions. It was thanks to some stellar saves by the Lewisburg goalkeeper that kept the match at the margin it finished with.
“I think it was a good day overall,” Lafayette coach Melinda Scruggs said. “We were able to create a whole lot of opportunities up top. That’s something you always strive, to make sure we were able to create opportunities to finish. A lot of different girls stepped up to score today which was good in that our whole team is being involved. Our (defensive) backs are settling in and doing a good job. Overall I was pleased with the day.”
The Commodores (1-1-1 overall) struggled to find the back of the net on Saturday, but found out the tenacity of their defense in their 0-0 scoreless draw to Hernando and suffered a last-minute goal by the Southaven Chargers in their 1-0 loss.
“That was one thing we were worried about going into the season and that’s all we’ve really been focusing on at practice,” Lafayette coach Gene Anderson said about the defense. “They really did a great job. They got some little things they need to work on as far as covering each other and trying to get into the offense making some runs up field. They did a great job. We lost one of our forwards to quarantine and so we’re trying to figure out who else we can plug in up there (on offense).”
The Oxford Chargers (5-0) were on the correct end of a last-minute goal in their 2-1 victory over the Clinton Arrows, and stayed in control of their second match in their 3-0 win over the Desoto Central Jaguars. A first half Red Card on Desoto Central helped tip the match in the Charger’s favor and stayed in control of the match after that point as the Jaguars had to play with 10 players for the majority of the match.
“‘Relentless’, that’s their word for the year,” Oxford boys and girls coach Hunter Crane said about the mantra the team is using this year. “There’s fight in them, they fight you for 80 minutes. Clinton in the second half, they just pounded on us. We played defense for 40 minutes. Got a good one there in the end, got an opportunity to put it in the back of the net and got the W and we were really pleased with that.”
“In (the Desoto Central) game, we wanted to see them bounce back and really control the game for 80 minutes and they did, they controlled the game for 80 minutes,” Crane continued about the second game. “DC, they’re very tough and physical squad, similar to what we saw against Clinton, but we controlled the tempo and we controlled the game and that’s what we wanted to see.”
The Lady Chargers (4-0-1) had an early 3-0 lead on the Clinton Lady Arrows, but were unable to hold on to the lead as Clinton stormed back in the second half and ended the match in a 3-3 tie. They had a much easier time against a younger Desoto Central Lady Jaguar squad in their 7-0 mercy-ruled win. In the match against Clinton played in the afternoon, the unusually warm 78 degree sunny weather took a toll on the Lady Chargers who are trying to replace several starters from last season as they started to tire out during the match.
“We got a little tired in the second half,” Crane said about the first game against Clinton. “We got a brand new back line. We’re replacing eight seniors off last year’s group that played a lot of quality minutes for us. Just learning how to play with a lead and keep a team that you pretty much handled for an entire half. They came out and wanted it more than we did in the second half. It’s a learning experience for us for sure. As bad as that tie hurt and to blow a 3-0 lead, we’ll learn a lot from that. We’ll learn to keep our foot on the gas pedal there. Clinton’s a good squad and we’ll see them again.”
“Wanted to see a bounce back, a finish of sorts,” Crane continued about the second game against Desoto Central. “We knew that Desoto Central was a little younger than what they had been in the past. We knew we could come out and take advantage of some opportunities.”
Lafayette’s next match will be at home Tuesday against Senatobia while Oxford next match will be at home Tuesday against future divisional opponent in Starkville. For both schools, the girls will play at 5:00 p.m. while the boys will kickoff at 7:00 p.m.