By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Katie Taylor doesn’t know how many shots she attempted in Tuesday’s MHSAA Class 6A first-round playoff soccer match against Warren Central.
“I think it was at least 100,” Tupelo’s sophomore forward said, then smiled. “I kept shooting and I kept missing.
“Everybody on my team told me to keep shooting.”
Taylor scored her lone goal in the 73rd minute to give the Lady Wave a 2-0 lead in an eventual 4-0 victory at Golden Wave Field.
Tupelo’s girls (12-2-1) advance to Saturday’s state quarterfinals and a road match against rival Madison Central, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation this week by MaxPreps. The Lady Wave is ranked 17th.
Lady Wave coach Shelley Miller, who saw her team take more than 25 shots on goal against Warren Central keeper McKenzie Page, didn’t feel relieved until Taylor finally hit the net.
“It didn’t feel like a 1-0 game,” Miller said. “You shoot and shoot, and shoot, but it’s not always going to go in. Their keeper kept them in the game. It could have been a 10-0 game.”
Tupelo’s defense and keeper Kat Stratton kept the visiting Vikings quiet most of the night.
“We had a few mental lapses out there, but we know we have to stay focused and ready,” Wave junior defender Abbie Banko said.
Tupelo took a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute on a header by Abby Phillips off a corner kick by Smith Ann Chiles.
Following Taylor’s late goal, Chiles and Bryson Rial padded the Lady Wave’s lead with a goal apiece in the final five minutes.
(B) Tupelo 5, Warren Central 1: Goals by Zach Ellis and Bryce Hunt early in the second half sealed the Golden Wave’s victory.
Tupelo (11-2-2) travels to Madison Central for a quarterfinals match Saturday.
The Golden Wave took a bang-bang 2-1 halftime lead on goals by Forrest Timmons and Taylor Brewer in 37th and 39th minute. Drew Williams scored a second-half goal on a penalty kick for Tupelo.
Michael Mason gave Warren Central a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute, but Wave keeper John Nabors was solid the rest of the way.