Choctaws sit a top of the Gulf South Conference! By Andrew Vaughn

About halfway through the season, the Mississippi College Men’s Soccer Team has yet to lose a match. They are sitting at the top of the Gulf South Conference with 7 wins, 0 losses, and 1 tie. The Choctaws are making a conscious effort to take the rest of the season one game at a time. While on a 6-game win streak, it could become easy to look ahead on the schedule and underestimate other teams. This is especially dangerous in a tough conference like the Gulf South Conference. Head Coach Kevin Johns has stressed the fact to his team that they need to play hard in every remaining game. “That’s the thing with our conference; everybody — even the teams at the bottom — can beat you. There’s only a goal or two separating those teams. If you have a bad game you can end up with a loss. You’ve got to be ready to play every day.”

Even though the team is focusing on one opponent at a time, both Coach Johns and Senior Goalkeeper Humberto Pelaez have identified West Alabama as a threat to the Choctaws repeating as regular season conference champions. Pelaez, the 2016 GSC Player of the Year, knows how good West Alabama is, as they have been a tough opponent all four years he has been at MC. “Our biggest threat to repeating as Conference Champs is West Alabama because they’ve been winning the conference for the last three years. They’re the target to beat.”

Even though West Alabama has a conference loss already, if they beat MC, they could take the top spot. Coach Johns knows it will be a tough final road game. “Playing West Alabama at West Alabama is always gonna be tough. They have a loss right now, but if they beat us, we are tied, and then they’d win the head-to-head. What’s going to end up happening is whoever wins our conference is only going to win it by a half game.”

As a senior, Pelaez is doing his best to be the best leader he can by having the lines of communication between freshmen and seniors open. “This is my fourth year here, but the chemistry (this year) is quite different. When you’re a freshman you can talk to the seniors. There’s not a barrier. Being a senior you know you have more experience, but they (freshmen) know they can come to you and try to ask you for help.”

Senior Elliot Rimmer is very confident that if they Choctaws focus and play their brand of soccer, there is no one they cannot beat. “Honestly, and I’ve told the guys this, I don’t think there’s a game we’re gonna play the rest of the season that we should lose. I don’t see us losing a game if we play our style — if we play disciplined, stay motivated. I don’t see a reason that we would lose.”

 

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