The Bulldogs, the No. 1 seed in the Syouth Division, don't want a repeat of last year when they failed to show up and were eliminated at the MACJC tournament. MGCCC is determined to start fast and say they won't let up. Gulf Coast opens play 1 p.m. Saturday in Ridgeland facing Itawamba Community College, the No. 2 seed in the North Division.
Mississippi Gulf Coast head coach Chris Handy and his Bulldogs enter the state championship tournament having run off five consecutive wins. Coach Handy is confident thanks to the style of play his Bulldogs have established during the course of the season. It's called ball control.
Coach Handy said, "It's kind of hard for a team to score if we have the ball the whole time. We work very hard. We worked hard during the off-season.
I would argue that we're the hardest working team in the state and you combine that with a lot of talent that it leads to a lot of success."
Sophomore Jordan Hall has netted 25 goals and 10 assists, to rank fifth in the nation in scoring. Last season he ranked No. 2 in the national junior college ranks with 28 goals and 12 assists and was named first-team All-American. The Manchester, England native says he plays an aggressive brand of soccer.
"I think I'm a bit different., "stated Hall. "I'm so direct in the way I play. I attack defenders. I don't really care about mixing it up. If something works I just keep doing it over and over again until it stops works."
Owen Betz is back on the coast. Last season the former St. Stanislaus standout goal keeper played his freshman season at Northern Kentucky where he compiled a 15 and 1 record. Betz has posted a 12-2 record giving up 1.15 goals per game.
Betz said, "No matter what level you're in, it will always be the same. A lot of mental, a lot of physical. So ou just have to learn how to balance those two to improve your skills and become the best at it."
Pearl River Community College, the No. 2 seed in the MACJC South Division will take on North Division No. 1 seed East Central 11 a.m. Saturday.
The No. 3 seed Mississippi Gulf Coast Lady Bulldogs pulled off an upset earlier this week and will battle Jones County, the No. 1 seed in the South Division beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The MACJC Men's championship game is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday followed by the Women's title game at 4 p.m.
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