This year’s MAIS AAAA girls soccer championship was special for Jackson Prep coach John Marcus Duncan. He literally leaped for joy after the Lady Patriots defeated Jackson Academy 2-1 Monday night, reversing two losses to the Lady Raiders during the regular season.
“Knowing that we had been beaten twice by them, it just all came together. Everything fell into place for us,” he said.
It was Prep’s third consecutive championship and 14th overall — the last 11 with Duncan as coach — resulting in the Lady Patriots again finishing atop The Clarion-Ledger rankings. Offensively, Prep was led by seniors Clayton Noblin wih 33 goals and 23 assists and Olivia Brown with 17 goals and 12 assists. Noblin scored what proved to be the winning goal against JA.
Another senior, McKenzie Robinson, stood out in goal. She missed two weeks after suffering a concussion early in the season, but finished with 65 saves, including eight against JA, and 12 shutouts while allowing 15 goals.
Other champions are Lamar School in Division II and St. Aloysius in Division III.
A young Lamar team with only two seniors on the roster peaked at the end of the season with a 10-0 win over Oak Forest and a 3-2 victory over Pillow for the championship. Coach Leon Powell said the key was “playing together as a team. All the girls trust each other.”
The Lady Raiders (11-7-1) were led offensively by juniors An’Dria Kennedy and Madeline Hodge and seventh-grader Emma Kate Uithoven. Kennedy was the scoring leader with 26 goals, including five against Oak Forest and a big goal in the second half of title game with Pillow that tied the score at 1-1. Uithoven scored what proved to be the winning goal in the championship game.
St. Aloysius, a new kid on the block in MAIS athletics, was perfect with a 14-0 record, including playoff wins against Kirk (8-3), Starkville Academy (3-1) and a 2-1 win over Hartfield in the title game.
“It’s been fun, especially when you’re undefeated,” said coach Scott Mathis.
Mathis will begin his fourth year coaching St. Al’s boys, and he added the girls this year when the switch from MHSAA to MAIS resulted in a change of season for the girls from winter to fall.
“They called me at the last minute and asked me if I would be willing to do. I was thrown into it,” he said.
Senior Sara McDaniel and Madeline Polk, an eighth-grader, were a dynamic duo for the Lady Flashes. McDaniel finished with 25 goals and 27 assists and Polk with 32 goals and 24 assists. They were especially potent in the playoffs. McDaniel had four goals and six assists, and Polk had six goals and three assists.
When it mattered most, each had a goal and an assist against Hartfield. They were supported by junior Sydney Mathis, the coach’s daughter, with 11 goals and 23 assists and junior Brooklyn Breithaup with 17 goals and nine assists.
MAIS Top 5
1. Jackson Prep…19-5
2. Jackson Academy…15-3-1
4. St. Aloysius…14-0