The Mississippi College Men’s soccer team started the year off with a bang, going 8-0-1 in their first 9 matches. Then the Choctaws hit a rough path going 2-2-2, but the team has turned back to their great play winning the last two matches.
MC defeated West Florida to open up the GSC tournament on Tuesday, and now onto the semi’s to play Alabama Huntsville. Head Coach Kevin Johns says the team got back to scoring goals, and as long as they keep scoring he likes their chances in the GSC tournament.
“To have a game like 6-0 (vs. Auburn Montgomery) hopefully it puts us right back in the frame of mind of scoring goals into the conference tournament. As long as we go out and perform well, do the small things correctly, and score goals we should be fine. I said this in preseason we will defend well, if we finish our chances that we get then I like our chances in the GSC Tournament” said Johns.
Senior Elliot Rimmer knows that the Choctaws have to do the little things to win in a tough conference like the GSC. “In this conference most games are decided by one or two goals and every game is made up of thousands of little moments and decisions. It comes down to which team makes the right decision and does the little things at the right moments” Rimmer’s said.
The Choctaws got rewarded for their good play this season, as 5 players got selected to the all-conference team. Jacob Farthing and Humberto Pelaez made first team all-GSC, which Victor Bazan, Horacio Gutierrez Jr. and Elliot Rimmer made second team honors.
Success like that is not only great for the players but the program as a whole. “It is a good mark for our whole program, not just those individual players because it takes good effort and we probably had a few other guys that could have got that award. It is good to see 5 guys get it, and it’s more of a mark of our whole team in our conference. We have a really competitive team and it says something for our program going forward” Johns stated.
Humberto Pelaez is honored by the recognition but he would like to see all of his teammates make it. “I would like to have all of my teammates on the list or in the first 11. It’s an honor for me, and it’s an honor for the program.”
Rimmer knows he could not receive this honor without his teammates. “It says a lot about the guys we play with, every day we come out and it’s a battle at practice. There is not a drop off in talent anywhere on the field. When we are having our squad games, the 1st 11 vs the 2nd 11 they beat us about half the time. So I do see why it shouldn’t be more than five, we have plenty of talent on the team” Rimmer said.
Now the team is ready to win the GSC, and Elliot Rimmer says this is what the program has been building towards. “This year is the culmination of for four years of building towards this. The women’s soccer team has a saying that we adopted call a ring by spring, and I would love to finish out as conference tournament champions and get that ring” said Rimmer.
Pelaez knows the team has the talent to win the GSC but it is all about attitude and mindset. “We know we are the best team, there is no doubt about it, our coach says it all the time, and coaches from other teams say it all the time. So if we have the right attitude and we perform we will win it easily” Pelaez said.
Coach Johns does not want to put the NCAA tournament chances in anyone else’s hands but the Choctaws. “We do not want to put anything in anyone hands outside of our own. Because the top four have a shot to go to the NCAA regionals, but we just want to win it. To us it is the championship game because if we win that we move forward if we don’t we are out” Johns said.
The Choctaws are currently ranked 4th in the South NCAA Regional. If the Choctaws win on Friday against Alabama Huntsville they would play the winner of the West Alabama vs. Montevallo game for the GSC Championship.