PONTOTOC – Coming into Monday night’s home playoff game, Pontotoc’s girls sported a sparkling 14-0 record when they scored two or more goals – and an 0-4 mark when they scored less than two.
They picked a good time to change that trend, as they moved into the second round of the MHSAA 4A soccer playoffs with a 1-0 win over Corinth.
Senior ICC signee Karlee Grisham scored the game’s lone goal in the 77th minute, a shot the officials ruled went in after bouncing inside of the cross bar, giving the host Lady Warriors (15-4) a lead that couldn’t be overcome in the contest’s remaining three minutes.
“When you get into playoff mode it’s survive and advance,” said Pontotoc coach McKinley Holland. “Give Corinth a lot of credit. They pinned their ears back and had a good approach all night.
“We took a lot of shots, but sometimes you just can’t get them to fall. Great teams find a way to win tough games like that, and our girls did.”
Pontotoc, without apology a defense-first team, clamped down on the visiting Lady Warriors (10-9-2) all night. They allowed a mere three shots, with none coming on frame.
“I cannot say enough about the 5-6 girls we have rotating through back there (on defense),” Holland said. “Having that defensive approach allows you to win games like this. When shots are not falling you have something to fall back on.”
Pontotoc was able to control the ball, especially early on, and they had plenty of scoring chances all night. They took 21 shots, 10 on the frame, but managed nothing until Grisham’s late netter against goalie Madison Bickert.
“She (Bickert) is why we even had a chance to be here tonight,” said Corinth head coach Cameron Glenn. “She played a great game and is the reason we won a lot of the games that we did.
“I’m proud of the girls. Pontotoc has a lot more experience than us, but we gave them everything we had. I thought we had opportunities in the second half to get behind the back line – we just couldn’t get the shot off.”