By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo didn’t get much of a test from Columbus in Tuesday’s Division 2-6A girls high school soccer opener.
The Lady Wave, a state finalist last season, rolled to its ninth victory with a decisive 16-0 decision against the visiting Lady Falcons.
“We haven’t played in more than a month, so it’s like a new season,” Tupelo coach Shelley Miller said. “We’ve been working on each player playing to their own strength. I saw a lot of that tonight.”
Smith Ann Chiles and Katie Taylor scored four goals apiece in a first half that saw Tupelo take 25 shots on goal on its way to a 9-0 halftime lead.
Chiles, a senior midfielder, finished with a team-high five goals. Tupelo pulled its starters 10 minutes deep into the second half.
Also for the Lady Wave, Amy Haadsma and Sarah Lambert Hollingsworth scored two goals each in the final 40 minutes while Lexie Wise scored one.
Tupelo (9-2, 1-0) will face a lot tougher task this weekend on a trip to the Jackson area, playing Clinton, Northwest Rankin and Brandon. The Bulldogs defeated THS in last season’s 6A championship match in Clinton.
Chiles is looking forward to the Brandon rematch. “It’s going to be tough,” she said of the team’s Jackson trip. “We have to play to our strengths.”
(B) Tupelo 3, Columbus 0: Reed Bigham scored on a header off a corner kick by Alx Little in the 50th minute to give Tupelo the only goal it would need.
Andrew White and Chase Cernigliaro added late goals for the Golden Wave.
“It was a really tough game, a good game,” THS coach Harris Faucette said. “We played with a lot more energy and effort in the second half.”
Tupelo (9-2, 1-0) plays Saturday at 6A foes Northwest Rankin and Brandon.
“It will be good to see where we are compared to other 6A schools in the Jackson area,” Faucette said. “Northwest Rankin is a North team, one we may have to play in the playoffs.”