POPLARVILLE— Friday was the latest example that Pearl River Community College should be in the conversation as one of the state's top men's soccer programs.
But even in the wake of a 5-1 victory over Meridian Community College that pushed the team's record to 5-0, head coach Drew Gallant challenged his players.
"Be happy, but don't be satisfied," the third-year coach told his players in the post-game huddle.
"We're always happy that we won," Gallant later explained. "We scored a lot of goals tonight, and we've been scoring a lot of goals, but we're still making mistakes.
"When we get that perfect game we'll be happy, but we're nowhere near it."
Fresh off of a hat trick at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College last week, sophomore Bo Bowman (Bay St. Louis) netted two more goals Friday. The former Bay High Tiger opened the night's scoring in the 16thminute by converting a penalty kick opportunity Daminik White (Kingston, Jamaica) earned. He later scored again on a Kealan Baggett (Ocean Springs) pass across goal mouth.
White was also active in the attack, scoring in the 25thminute. Jevaun Ennis (Maypen, Jamaica) flashed his speed, breaking in alone on goal. Although the Meridian Keeper made a fantastic save, the ball landed at White's feet and the powerful Jamaican didn't waste his chance.
Meridian (2-4, 0-1 MACJC South Division) opened the scoring in the second half to draw within two at 3-1 on a Tresor Kobia penalty kick, but soon after Elkins headed in an Ennis corner kick to extend PRCC's lead back to 4-1.
Baggett also factored into the scoring, burying a rebound off one of White's shots in the 75thminute.
"Coach wants goals from everywhere, I don't think he loves anything else more than goals. For that reason, everyone wants to score," said White, who finished the game with a goal and two assists. "There comes a time where there's a bit of selfishness, where you want to score, but it's his way.
"We want to go for it and push."
STEADY IN GOAL
Fresh off of his MACJC and NJCAA Goalkeeper of the Week awards, Kobe Lie (Hattiesburg; North Forrest) stood tall in goal. The sophomore stopped seven shots to earn his fifth win of the young season.
PRCC's "Man of the Match" actually was a defender who came in off the bench and didn't register a goal: Freshman Dylan Picchi (Long Beach).
"That was his best game of the season by far," Gallant said. "We have had issues at outside back, they take turns having good nights and Picchi stepped up tonight.
"What an amazing night for him."
PRCC will face one of its toughest challenges of the season Tuesday when the Wildcats (5-0, 2-0) visit Jones County Junior College for a 7 p.m. start.
White believes the Wildcats are up to the task.
"Every single team comes out and wants to play Pearl River the best they can because it's Pearl River and we win championships here.," he said. "There's definitely a huge target on our back but we will rise to the occasion."