From top to bottom, the Itawamba Community College men’s soccer team appears to have all the pieces to contend for one of the most successful seasons in school history.
The defense will be full of experience with returning All-State defender Tyler Moore (Pontotoc) and Logan Ayers (Tupelo Christian). Sophomore goalkeeper, Trace Nabors (Tupelo), looks to be a formidable stopper for the Indians this season while East Mississippi transfer Eduardo Fumo (Starkville) will strengthen the Indians midfield.
Sophomore striker Collin Burchfield (Pontotoc) and Ayers will lead the offensive attack; both scored nine points each for the Indians last season. Burchfield scored three goals and added three assist while Ayers booted four goals and one assist.
An influx of talented and accomplished freshman midfielders will bring added strength and depth to the roster. Will Goodwin (Starkville Academy), Joseph Pauta (Horn Lake), Tyler Cunningham(Jacksonville, AL), and Hil Fradenburg (Tupelo Christian) look to help ICC rebound from missing the 2009 playoffs due to the MACJC tiebreaker rule after finishing tied for second in the North division.
“We just missed out on the playoffs last year because of the tiebreaker, but were going to try to not let that happen this year,” said ICC men’s and women’s head coach Mike Sullivan. “We’ve brought some good offensive weapons in and we’re bringing some back so we’re looking to make a strong push this year.”
Other returning sophomores: Jordan Curtis (Corinth), Anthony Delgado (Falkner), and Cody Garrison (Saltillo).
Other freshman joining the team: Billy Bierman (Hernado), Erik Gentry (Pontotoc), Salem Gipson (Columbus), John Griffin (Corinth), Hunter Groenveld (Hernando), Justin Holland (Hernando), Roy Miles (Starkville Academy), Clark Pennington (Horn Lake), Keithen Ratliff (Callaway), Abraheem Saleh (Tupelo), Houston Walker (Columbus), and Heath Wigginton (Saltillo).
Numbers will be low, but the expectations will still be high for the ICC women’s soccer team.
Last season, the Lady Indians made their third-straight playoff appearance and finished third in the state after earning second place in the North.
Co-captains midfielder Lorrie Phillips (Pontotoc) and defender Katelynn Davis (Houston) will look to lead the 16-member squad to another successful season on the pitch. Phillips, who suffered a knee injury last season, is the top-returning scorer points with 16 points; scoring six goals and adding four assist. Shelby Brown will be a key cog in the Lady Indians offensive success this season. The sophomore midfielder scored 12 points on four goals and four assists last season.
Paige Zahller (New Albany) will take on the goalkeeping role this season after allowing four goals and collecting 12 saves after playing 150 minutes in the net last season. Incoming freshman defenders Hannah Rayburn (Pontotoc) and Brooke Farley (DeSoto Central) will also see valuable playing time for the Lady Indians.
“With such a small roster every player is going to be important this season, but the group of girls we have on the team are good players and there is no doubt in my mind they are going to play hard every time out,” said Sullivan.
Other returning players: Shelby Brown (New Albany), Jordan Dunnam (New Albany), Kayla Parker (Pontotoc), Madison Raines (Tupelo).
Other freshman on the team this season: Courtney Baker (Amory), Shaina Cruse (Caledonia), Lara Evans (Amory), Erica Harrison (Columbus), Angel Madkins (Lafayette County), Jessee Mims (Heritage Academy), and Susan Shea (Corinth).
ICC will open its season at home against Jones on Saturday, August 28 at the ICC Soccer Complex with the women’s game starting at 1:00 p.m. and the men scheduled to follow at 3:00 p.m.
Adam Gore/ICC Sports Information Department