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Nothing could stop New Albany in their first round win over Senatobia Thursday night. Battling several factors and falling behind twice in the match, the Bulldogs held on for a 4-3 win to advance to Saturday’s second round.
“It was good considering playing on this field, the conditions and our bus breaking down on the way, they played hard and never gave up and were positive,” Bulldogs head coach Taylor Nichols said. “That’s what we talked about all week, staying positive and not get down. No matter if they scored or what happened, they came back.”
Senatobia went ahead twice in the first half, scoring their first goal at the 25:26 mark only to have the ‘Dawgs quickly respond with one from Carlos Zaragoza.
The Warriors again took the lead late in the half, and Moses Kinglsey hit the equalizer to make it a 2-2 game at the break.
Zaragoza recorded his second goal of the game early in the second half, giving the ‘Dawgs their first lead, and Ray Cooper put the Bulldogs ahead, 4-2, before Senatobia made a penalty kick shortly after.
“Carlos is one of those players that steps up in the big games,” Nichols said. “Last year, he came up big for us when we beat Pontotoc to win the division, and tonight, he played with those guys, and we’re thankful for that.”
The Lady ‘Dawgs may have been young this year, but that did not stop them from making their second straight playoff appearance.
Traveling to Lewisburg last Thursday, New Albany dropped the 2-0 decision in the first round game, but head coach Les Huntington is proud of his team’s effort, not only in the game, but throughout the season.
“They played their hearts out, and the goals were unfortunate,” he said. “I’m proud of them, and this has to be the most cohesive group I’ve worked with.”
New Albany ended the year at 7-8, boasting four shutouts, while the junior varsity team played three matches, all shutout wins.
“I think half of this team are middle schoolers and they did not face a team this year that was all high school,” Huntington said.
“It surprised many that we had several junior high girls on our team, but this is a solid group and good things are going to come in the future.”