By Jay Tidwell/Progress
PONTOTOC – The Drope sisters may squabble every now and then, but they got along just fine Monday night.
Hannah Drope scored two goals and her younger sister Shelby scored another to lead Pontotoc to a 3-0 win against Lafayette in the second round of the MHSAA Class 4A soccer playoffs. It was the second straight shutout in the postseason for the Lady Warriors, who beat West Lauderdale 1-0 in overtime in last week’s first-round match.
Pontotoc (18-4-1) advances to the North state finals for the first time in team history, where it will face Newton County in a road game Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Even though the Lady Warriors outshot the visiting Lady Commodores 12-1 in the first half, it took Hannah Drope’s unassisted goal in the 57th minute to break open the scoreless match. From there, Pontotoc quickly added two more to secure the win.
“We came out and played hard, but just couldn’t knock one in,” said Hannah Drope, a junior attacking midfielder, who now has 15 goals on the season. “When we did, it got our momentum going and we kept scoring.”
Shelby Drope, an eighth grade forward, found the net minutes later off an assist from sophomore Emily Williams. Shelby soon followed with an assist to Hannah to send the Lady Warriors to the next round.
“It’s fun, but we get in some arguments sometimes,” said Hannah Drope of playing with her younger sibling, then laughed. “But we work it out, and we play well together.”
‘Flood gates opened’
The Lady Warriors’ playoff opener against West Lauderdale went to double overtime before Carly Naugher won it with a sudden-death kick.
Monday night, the Region 1-4A champs made sure it was decided in regulation.
“We came out tonight in what I was fearful of: We were tight,” said Pontotoc coach Marty Pettit. “We were tight in the dressing room, we were apprehensive. It took us about 50 minutes to finally loosen up and play our type of soccer. When we did, we played well and knocked the ball in the back of the net and the flood gates opened.”
Lafayette (11-9), the Division 2-4A top seed, won its first division championship this season and was in only the second playoff game for the program.
A 4-0 win against Caledonia last Wednesday boosted them to the second round, where they lost for the third time this year to Pontotoc.
“They use their flanks, they are able to cross the ball, and do some really good things,” said first-year Lafayette coach Melinda Scruggs. “But now that we’ve done this, I hope we’ll come back next year and want to do more.”