RAYMOND, Miss. — Scoring was at a premium Monday evening as Pearl River fell to Gulf Coast 1-0 in the MACJC semifinal round on a muddy Tom Shepherd Field. The Wildcats (9-3-1 overall) advanced to the second round of the state tournament by winning the South Division for a second consecutive season and earning a bye.
Gulf Coast had the first strong scoring chance of the match in the 29th minute on a free kick just outside the box. The Bulldogs delivered a strong shot around PRCC's wall but John Bowman (Bay St. Louis; Bay) smothered the ball.
One minute later it was the Wildcats' turn to break in on goal. Shande James (Trench Town, Jamaica; Clarendon College) tried to pick the top corner but MGCCC's keeper turned the shot aside.
With three minutes remaining in the half the action ramped up again. In the 42nd minute Gulf Coast (13-6) sent a long throw-in into the box. The ensuing point-blank shot deflected out of bounds and the Wildcats escaped an early deficit.
PRCC broke the other way following the MGCCC miss but striker Caleb Burke (Ocean Springs) was stopped on the doorstep.
It didn't take long in the second half for MGCCC to break the tie as the Bulldogs settled a crossing pass and deposited it into the Pearl River net in the 48th minute.
The Bulldogs amplified the pressure early in the second half but the Wildcat defense stood strong. In the 55th minute James called his own number but skied the kick over the goal.
Eighteen minutes later Burke nearly equaled the score but pushed his shot wide.
The Wildcats tried to penetrate the Bulldogs' bunker in the final minutes of the contest but were unsuccessful.
Bowman stopped two of MGCCC's three shots.
Pearl River swept MGCCC during the regular season, winning 2-0 in Perkinston and 6-0 at home. Prior to Monday's loss, the Wildcats had won five straight against Gulf Coast.
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