By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Geena Marshall had a “Senior Night” to remember Friday.
Marshall, a forward for Tupelo’s unbeaten and top-ranked girls soccer team, scored six goals to lead the Lady Wave to a convincing 12-0 victory against visiting Columbus.
“It’s crazy,” Marshall said, then smiled. “I was new here last year. It’s been a blessing to play. All these players are a part of my family.”
Marshall’s senior teammate, forward Erin Tucker, had an evening she might want to forget. She scored two of Tupelo’s eight first-half goals, but was injured in the second half when her goal attempt ricocheted off the keeper and hit her left cheek. The blow knocked the contact out of her eye.
“I don’t remember what happened,” she said, holding an ice bag to her face. “I was told to keep icing it to keep the swelling down. I should be fine next week for the playoffs.”
The Lady Wave (16-0) plays today at a tournament in Olive Branch, then kicks off the 6A state playoffs at 5 p.m. Tuesday hosting Northwest Rankin.
The Golden Wave boys (9-3-3) defeated Columbus 7-0 and also plays in Olive Branch today before returning home at 7 p.m. Tuesday to host Madison Central in its playoff opener.
Charde Hannah scored two second-half goals for Tupelo. Abby Phillips scored the match’s first goal and added an assist while Sarah Lambert Hollingsworth scored a goal. Abbie Banko led the Wave with four assists.
Lady Wave keeper Kat Stratton, whose given up just four goals this season, knows the four-game road to Clinton for the state championship match will be a tough one.
“We haven’t played Northwest Rankin this season, but they’re usually a physical team,” she said. “It’s going to be a good game.”
Along with Northwest Rankin, Tupelo’s bracket features potential matchups against Clinton and nemesis Madison Central. The Lady Jaguars have eliminated Tupelo from the playoffs the last four seasons, three times in the North state finals.
“It’s going to be tough,” Tupelo coach Shelly Miller said. “I know Northwest Rankin’s got a good group.”
In the boys’ victory, freshman Parker Rose scored three goals while his brother, senior Gage Rose, scored two to lead the Golden Wave, directed by first-year head coach Harris Faucette.
“We’re starting to come together and play well,” Faucette said.