“Ring By Spring” By Corey Rholdon

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.

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Freshman vs. Senior Perspective on the Men’s Soccer Team! By Madison Brown!

With only the GSC Tournament left to play, the Choctaw soccer season is coming to a close. The men’s soccer team is made up of a select group of players from around the world that work together as a family toward one common goal: victory.

Grant Falla, a freshman from Hattiesburg, Miss., is one of the newest members of the Choctaw family. Previously a varsity player for the Sacred Heart Crusaders, Falla won two state championships during his high school career with his father as head coach. After being a part of the Rush Organization, Falla came to MC to play for head coach, Kevin Johns. “It’s definitely a unique situation playing for your father, but I’ve known Coach Kevin for a while now so it wasn’t a big transition.”

The biggest transition for Falla was when he moved from 1A high school soccer to becoming a part of a Division II college team. “I had to basically start over from the beginning and work to win a spot on the team,” stated Falla.  He now practices with the “top team” and looks up to older players on the field like Bastian Busch and Humberto Pelaez. As a freshman, Falla hasn’t seen much time on the field just yet, but he plans to have a bigger presence on the field in the coming years. “Right now, I’m just going to continue to work hard, continue to fight for a spot, and get ready for next year.”

One of 13 seniors on the team is Andrew Moore from Huntsville, Ala. Thinking back to his first year at MC, he remembers the nerves of freshman year. “I didn’t know anyone coming into a new environment and a new school. I was nervous, but I just wanted to prove myself.” After four years with the Choctaws, he’s much more relaxed around the team and on the field, and, as a senior, Moore takes on a leadership role. “The best way to lead is by example, so I make sure I’m working hard at practice and making sure no one takes a day off.” There are less than 40 players on the team, so Moore’s goal is to encourage the younger players by letting them know “you’re here for a reason.”

With only a couple of games left in his college career, Moore looks to see younger players step up to fill positions that will soon be empty. He says the team has a lot of candidates and strong leaders who can easily fill those spots. He expects to see the same high level of play from the Choctaw team over the next few years, but “the next step is to have a national presence and have a well-established MC program.”

Both Falla and Moore say that the best part about being on the Choctaw soccer team is their teammates. Falla says that even though “I’ve only been on the team for a few months, I feel like I’ve known them for so long. They’re a great group of guys on and off the field.” Looking back on his last four years at MC, Moore feels the same way. “My best friends are on the team. I’ll take those memories from practice and hanging out off the field with me for the rest of my life. They’re definitely my favorite part about being on the team.”

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The Perseverance of Kaitlyn Wilson! By Damon Wright!

Adversity is present everyday in our lives, from stressing over a big test to preparing for a big game, or even just deciding to go to class at 8 a.m. Challenges are presented in multiple ways, but it is how we respond to those challenges that make us who we are.

The Lady Choctaws have battled much adversity through the 2017 season, as the team has suffered multiple injuries throughout their first 24 games and have a new head coach. Former head coach Julie Redus stepped down on Oct. 6, and new interim head coach, Holly Tupper, took her place at the helm of the volleyball team.

It has been an adjustment, but Coach Tupper has enjoyed the new leadership. “There has definitely been some adjustment, just my role with the team … but it’s been something I have enjoyed and I get to learn as I go.” Tupper said. Senior defensive specialist Madison Kimes adds on to the switch at head coach, “A lot of changes have been happening so far, but it has been really good,” she said.

Throughout all the changes as the season goes on, players and coaches look to one player that drives them to be the best person they can be, and that person is redshirt freshmen Kaitlyn Wilson. Wilson is from Tupelo, Miss., and last year was diagnosed with Chron’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease which most commonly occurs in the end of the small intestine. Wilson could not play last year because of the disease and it was a difficult process during recovery and treatment. Wilson’s strong spirit and resiliency got her through the trials and tribulations. Wilson did not expect to be back so soon from Chron’s, “It was really hard last semester just thinking that I would not come back to school, much less touch a volleyball court, so it’s been a blessing, even though it hasn’t been my best expectation to how I would be, it’s still a blessing to be back at school,” she said.

Wilson’s attitude impacts the team morals as a whole, and also inspires others to live their lives the same exact way, “She’s the sweetest, most encouraging, and strongest girl you will ever meet … A lot of people are telling her she can’t play volleyball anymore because of her disease, but she still comes out, tries her hardest, and gets everything done. It’s just really inspiring and makes you want to work hard as well,” said Kimes.

Coach Tupper also gives her thoughts on Wilson, “It’s been really impressive seeing her battle on and off the court, overcoming adversity day in and day out showing up even when she does not feel well or it’s been a bad day for her. She shows up and is a great teammate and is committed to making the team better … I’ve been really impressed with her ability to persevere. She’s showed our team what it’s like to persevere and be mentally tough,” said Tupper.

Wilson has not only been an inspiration to her team and all of MC, but she is also hoping to spread awareness to those affected by Chron’s around the world. “It means so much to spread awareness because most people don’t know what Chron’s disease is. When I heard about it, I thought it was just for old people, like, ‘I’m 18, that shouldn’t happen,’ and it just means so much to spread awareness to try and find a cure since it’s not curable yet,” said Wilson. She also has some words for those currently fighting the Chron’s right now, “Stay strong, but also share your stories because most people don’t know about it, and the best thing for awareness and for people to stay strong is to have a support group. It’s definitely good to know people who have had it for quite some time now.”

Brave, strong, joy, and kindness are just a few words Wilson’s peers used to describe her, and she truly shows that by the way she lives and the way she acts. She truly leaves a lasting impact not only on her team, but anybody that sees her as an example of strength and perseverance.

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Men’s Basketball starts Preseason Camp! By Corey Rholdon

The Mississippi College Men’s basketball team opened preseason practice this week. The Choctaws have the four returning starters, which is the most of any school in the GSC, and Head Coach Don Lofton believes this is the team that will finally give MC respect in the GSC.

Lofton has been the head coach for the Choctaws the past 13 seasons and has been on the coaching staff for the past 33. Mississippi College struggled last season, going 7-19. Nevertheless, the team is returning three of the four leading scorers from last year.

Lofton believes that the experience his players gained over the past season will pay off this year. “We have four returning starters from last season. We have more depth than we had in previous years. We have a lot of experience, and that experience has not always been good. But that experience will pay off for us this year,” Lofton said.

Junior guard Antonio Johnson says the past two years have helped build chemistry with his teammates. “Experience is going to play a huge role; we know each other, we know what we like to do and how we like to play. We know where we like to catch the ball, and things like that,” said Johnson.

Johnson led the GSC in three-point percentage last year at 44 percent. But this year he wants to grow as a defender and as a leader. “Personally, I would like to fix my defense, and become more of a leader than I was last season.” Forward Stacy Mack wants to give the young Choctaws a road to success. “I want to give advice to the young guys, make a blueprint for them. This year, I now have a voice, being in my third year, it will be a real fun year,” Mack said.

The Choctaws will work hard on their defense this preseason, as they gave up 81 points per game last year. “We have been pretty good offensively but not nearly good enough defensively. We want to emphasize everything, especially defense. We really need to improve defensively. This Gulf South Conference is really tough, so we have to worry about getting better each and every day,” Lofton said.

MC had a really tough offseason, as they worked on their mindset, and always pushing each other. Mack believes that will help push the Choctaws to a new level this season. “It’s all about the mindset, Coach Quick really taught us that no matter how heavy the weight is, you just have to have that mindset to push through. I think that will do us good during the season when everybody is tired. Are you going to basically quit or are you going to keep playing when it gets tough?” he said..

Mississippi College wants to gain respect this season, and Coach Lofton knows it is not where you start but where you finish. “The next step is to gain some respect; there are 14 basketball teams in our league and we were picked to finished 12th. I’ve learned a long time ago, that it is not where you are picked but it where you finish. Hopefully we finish a whole lot higher than 12th. We expect to and want to. Hopefully this basketball team that we have can,” Lofton said.

Mack just wants to prove the Choctaws are a good basketball team. “We really have to prove ourselves. I know how much potential we have with this team. We’ve always had great talent; now we just need to put it together. I am looking to come out first — my expectations is to be first in the polls. I want to win everything. I just want to win, I will do anything it takes to win, and I honestly put my body on the line just to try to win,” Mack said.

The Choctaws start preseason play at Embry-Riddle on Nov. 10, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

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Running for Love! By Andrew Vaughn

A Facebook data science study, released last week, found that about 28 percent of married graduates attended the same college as their spouse. This will prove true for Mississippi College students Will Young and Hannah Chamberlain. The couple got engaged on Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Clinton Community Nature Center.

Young had the proposal planned since this summer when he bought the ring. He even had purchased a projector and screen so that he could play a slideshow with pictures of him and Chamberlain, highlighting their relationship. Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties, and the flash drive containing the slide show malfunctioned.

Young came prepared, but the back-up flash drive also would not work. Young’s mother, who was there to take pictures, saved the day, and she had the couple watch the slideshow on her phone. Even though some of the details did not work out exactly as planned, the happy couple is now engaged. They plan to get married in the Summer of 2019, after Young finishes his undergrad degree in Biology. Chamberlain’s major is engineering.

How did this couple meet, you might ask? The couple met through competing on the Mississippi College Cross Country team. Chamberlain came to MC in 2014 from Evergreen, Colo. She had been running cross country since her freshman year of high school. Not only a runner, Chamberlain spends her time with the Equestrian Team as well. Young came to MC the next year from Nacogdoches, Texas, where he was the 1-A Texas State Champion in cross country and the two-time 1A Track State Champion in the 3200 meters and 1600 meters.

As a premier runner, Young knew he wanted to come to a school where he could contribute to the team right away. Even though they both enjoy running, the couple does not necessarily like to run together. Chamberlain said, “Well, that’s because Will is so much faster than me. My normal run would be a slow jog for him.” Young did say they will run simultaneously, but even “though we run side by side, most of the time we’ll be running at the same time, but not really with each other.”

Congratulations to Will Young and Hannah Chamberlain!

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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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Aneta Golawska: The “Polish Princess” on the Tennis Team! By Anais Eliseeva, contributing writer

Aneta Magdalena Golawska

Birth date: July 22, 1997

Height: 5’7’’

Class: Sophomore

Birthplace: Bridgeport, Conn.

Hometown: Gdańsk, Poland

 

It has been a year since a cheerful blonde Polish girl, Aneta Golawska, came to Mississippi College to study Public Relations and to play for the MC tennis team. “I came here from Poland, but I was born in Bridgeport, Conn. My parents came to America in their mid-twenties, but when I was four years old, they decided to move back to Poland, their home country,” said Golawska. “I have two older sisters and one younger brother and all of us have dual citizenship.”

Golawska started playing tennis when she was 10. “By looking at my older sister Ola, I started loving tennis and wanted to play too,” she said. Also, Golawska’s dad influenced her sport choice. “He likes tennis a lot, and he always wanted to play himself but never got a chance,” she said, even though Golawska admitted that it was her sister who inspired her the most. “I always wanted to be like my sister. I admire how she is and what she does,” she said.

According to Golawska, the best thing about tennis is how it helped her grow as a person. “Tennis is an individual sport, so I learned how to rely on myself. It taught me to work hard to reach my goals. If you’re not putting in all the effort, you can’t expect anything,” she said, “It is important to put 110 percent of effort, not even 100, into what you are doing.” As she noted, she usually plays more aggressive and offensive game.

The main thing Golawska used to struggle with in tennis was her explosive character. “I would do something and then think. I would get into an argument with an opponent all the time,” she said. “If somebody asks me what’s the score, and I think he said something wrong, I am ready to fight. Sometimes it brings issues to the court.” She also used to be very negative to herself for any mistake she made during the match. Golawska gave herself a boost for the upcoming season, which is “do not talk to yourself on the court.”

Golawska plays both singles and doubles matches in tennis. “I would say I prefer singles over doubles, because I am scared of missing a ball when playing with a doubles partner. I always take the whole fault on me,” she said. “In order to become a good doubles player, it is important to be understandable for the other, because you share a part of the court. You have to be supportive and cheer each other up all the time.” During the previous season, Golawska used to play on the first position on doubles, but then she decided she would feel more comfortable playing on the second position.

As for Golawska’s hobbies outside tennis, she likes to watch Polish movies and TV series. “Watching Polish soap operas is what keeps me positive. For me, this is the main thing to do when I am not in class or in practice,” she said. “It is so ridiculous, but I still like it. It is in Polish, and it shows places where I used to walk. When I am watching it, I feel like [I’m] home.” She also likes to spend time with her friends. For example, in the spring, they used to go on trips every weekend. “That kept me busy all the time,” she said.

“It is really hard sometimes to combine studying and tennis and to have enough time for each. Nevertheless, studying is the most important thing so it is important to put as much effort in it,” said Golawska. “During the last semester I used to spend the whole night studying to keep up with the material, and because it was my first tennis season and I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was.” She also has a two-hour tennis practice five times a week as well as one-hour weight training twice a week. Nevertheless, Golawska managed to maintain a high GPA.

Golawska took a one-year break from tennis when she was around 14 years old. She said, “I didn’t play tennis at all. I’m a rather social person, and I just wanted to spend more time with friends.” However, when she went to a tennis camp after a break, she realized that tennis is what she needs to do. “I knew that hanging out with friends will not bring me anything in the future, but what actually could be my future was tennis,” said Golawska, “Tennis became the thing that kept me happy. It was my purpose and took the first position of my daily task. Also, if I didn’t play tennis, I would probably have never come here.”

The thing Golawska is thankful for the most is her family. “Family is the most important part of my life,” said Golawska, “My siblings and I are very close to each other. Also, I can always rely on my parents, because they would always support me in every situation. Now, when there is seven-hour time difference, we can contact each other any time. Even if it is three o’clock in the morning in Poland and I feel sad and I really need to hear my parents, I can call them and they would answer the phone immediately.”

Sofia Carrera, who has been Golawska’s friend for almost two years, said, “If I had to describe Aneta in a few words I would say she is lively, dynamic and kind. She is one of those people who have the gift of making others smile just by saying a few words.” She also added, “As a tennis player, I would say Aneta is a strong willed individual who tries her best every time she steps on the court, even when she screams her classic ‘Aneeeta!’ after missing an easy ball. The Polish princess [nickname given to her by the tennis team] surely is one of a kind.”

Golawska is looking forward to the upcoming tennis season in Spring. “I wish I could play as good as possible,” she said, “I assume the reason the last season was hard for me is that it was my first season.” Since then, Golawska became more experienced, and this time, she knows what she has to be ready for.

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The Mississippi College Choctaws battle the Delta State Statesmen for the Heritage Bell trophy! By Corey Rholdon

The 38th meeting of the Heritage Bell Classic will take place thus Saturday night at Roberson-Hale Stadium. The Mississippi College Choctaws and the Delta State Statesmen have been battling it out since 1935, and Okra currently have a 20-15-2 all-time series lead on the Choctaws. Although MC has been unsuccessful as of late, the players of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90 have a fond memory of the Rivalry. These alumni are excited that the rivalry is back since MC rejoined the GSC in 2014, and believe it will once again be a prodigious rivalry.

Mississippi College Dean of Students, Dr. Turcotte is one of those alumni who is excited the Choctaws and Okra are competing again. Dr. Turcotte was the placekicker for MC during the late 70’s and early 80’s. “Well I am very excited about having the rivalry back I’ve never really lost my competition and competitive nature. I am trying to get students to feel it too, but when we first started a few years ago I was going on about it and the students were like what is this guy talking about… Delta State… They don’t really have an understanding yet how deeply those of us who were athletes back a long time ago felt about this rivalry” Turcotte said.

Dr. Turcotte had some great memories of his playing days against Delta State, but two of them were better than the rest. “But I will never forget in 1982 we were playing at Delta State and one of my best friends Major Everett who was the running back on the team; who later went on to play pro football” said Turcotte. “He came off the field and they radioed down into coach and said Major is about to set an NCAA record put him back in. He went back in he rushed for around 340 yards in one game” Turcotte said.

“The other memory was when I was a senior; I was the student government president of Mississippi College and the placekicker on the football team” said Turcotte. “We played Delta State here at Mississippi College, and I hired a sky diver to put on our mascot uniform and dive out of an airplane and parachute into the middle of the football field at the beginning of the game to fire up the crowd. He ran into a tepee and changed with the real mascot. We ended up winning that game.” Turcotte said.

Athletic Director Mike Jones said the rivalry is a well-respected rivalry, and that it means a whole lot for the state of Mississippi and both of the athletic departments. “The renewal of it is great for athletics, the state and for both of our schools” Jones said. “You don’t have to tell the kids, they understand it is an instate game; 2 hours away. They are a very good athletic program, and we are trying to get back to be just like they are.”

After Mississippi College rejoined division two in 2014, all of the “old” alumni were ecstatic to bring the Heritage Bell Classic back. “The biggest thing that I’ve heard when we came back from division two was to beat Delta State! That was pretty neat, that was the first thing that all the alum said” Jones said. “All of the former players in the 70’s and 80’s have come back and they are involved. Of course they knew what that rivalry meant. I know when I was here during the 80’s coach Williams always said this is Delta State week, so it meant a great deal to us” said Jones.

Choctaws Men’s Head Basketball Coach Don Lofton played football for MC during the 70’s and he believes the rivalry will eventually gain the interest it once had. “When we were division two before it was a huge rivalry. I think now since we’ve gone back from division 3 to division 2 I think over time the rivalry will come back, and the interest from the fans will come back” Lofton said. “Over time the rivalry will be huge again. We need that, it is healthy for Mississippi College athletics. Coaches and players always look forward to playing big games. You want to coach in big games, and you want to play in big games” said Lofton.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s is was THE BIG GAME, as the Choctaws prepared for the Statesmen all year said Turcotte. “Well it’s personally because when I was a student they were our number one rival, and we prepared for them all year. It did not matter what kind of season we were having it was possible for one great team to lose to a not so great team in any given year. I did not really care if we won another game the whole year as long as we beat Delta State. It was a traditional rivalry. On the field, it was very rough and intense” said Turcotte.

Mike Jones is a happy man whenever any Choctaws team beats Delta State, and he believes that a win like this could turn the football season around. “It would be great for our football program, anytime you beat Delta State it is great for your program. Anytime you beat Delta State in anything, as an athletic director it is a great moment for me” Jones said.

The Rivalry with Delta State is not just on the playing field but the recruiting field, coach Lofton says beating Delta State helps recruiting. “In terms of recruiting it think it is huge, and in college athletics is comes down to players. Beating Delta State will gain the respect back that we need in the athletic program” said Lofton.

The Choctaws look to beat the Okra for the first time since 1993 Saturday night. MC has lost the last 5 meetings (Did not play from 1996-2013). But there is no better way to turn the season around than beating the 13th ranked Delta State Statesman at home. Go Choctaws!

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The 17th ranked MC Women’s Soccer team looks to continue its hot start as GSC play continues. By Corey Rholdon

Coach Longabaugh and his Lady Choctaws started their season on fire. The team currently has a 3-0-1 record with a tie against 13th ranked North Georgia. Longabaugh says the team has to take it one game at a time. “We have to take game by game, win it game by game. We need to win the conference to automatically qualify to get in (the NCAA tournament). I think we started off on a great foot, up in Cleveland, Tennessee, when we went up to play Rollins, who did beat us out last year to get into the national tournament. We beat them to make a point.”

After beating Rollins, the Lady Choctaws tie against number 13th ranked North Georgia and that proved the team can compete with anyone, Coach Longabaugh says. “We tied them (North Georgia) in double overtime on a neutral field, which was great because it proves we were just as good as they are. We are that kind of a program; we are a nationally competitive program.”

Junior Goalkeeper Andrea McDonald says the team needs to keep its composure, as it is a long season. “We need composure because last year we were so close, and we were so close my freshman year. Last year we made it to the conference finals and this year it’s about staying strong throughout the whole entire year.”

McDonald says the team is no longer underdogs, and since they are ranked 17th in the nation, the team will get their opponent’s best each and every match. “We are currently 17th in the nation right now, which means we have a target on our backs and we are going to keep it that way.”

Captain Katie Taylor has enjoyed seeing her teammates come together this season. “This year we are working for each other. We literally have girls doing the extra slide tackles, the extra sprints, because they know the person beside them is working just as hard. It’s been cool to watch us grow off the field and on it.”

Taylor wants the Lady Choctaws to outwork every team they face this season and be known as the hardest working team in the Gulf South Conference. “When we leave the field we want the other team to be able to say that we are the hardest working team they’ve played all year.”

Coach Longabaugh really likes his team, and he says the team has a good mix with young players and veterans. “We have a young team mixed with a little bit of older veterans; our midfield is strong, and our backline is strong.”

The Lady Choctaws go on the road this weekend to face Shorter on Friday, and Lee on Sunday. The tough road trip is a good test for MC Coach Longabaugh says as the team needs wins against tough opponents to get into the NCAA tournament. “We have to play teams like that if we want to advance into the national tournament or even the conference tournament for that matter.”

MC’s goal for the rest of the season is to keep winning games and win the GSC. “We want to win conference,” said McDonald.

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