The Kosciusko boys’ and girls’ soccer teams closed out the season last week with Region 4-4A victories over Louisville and losses to New Hope in a non-region game.
“The teams continued to fight, to play hard and I'm extremely proud of them,” said Coach Greg Cooper.
The Whippets defeated Louisville 6-0 and lost to New Hope 5-3. For the Lady Whippets, it was a 7-0 win over Louisville and a 2-1 loss to New Hope.
Playing in a new six-team region against strong competition, both teams failed to make the playoffs. The Whippets finished third at 5-5, trailing Newton County and West Lauderdale. The Lady Whippets were fourth with a 4-6 record, trailing West Lauderdale, Choctaw Central and Newton County. Top two teams qualify for the 4A playoffs.
For the boys, Will Carter made two goals against Louisville, Dan Lindsay a goal and two assists, Jeremy Gibson, Jon Gant and Thomas Sims a goal each, Eli Kemp, Robert Pickle and Alexis Hernandez each an assist.
In the New Hope game, Gant had two goals and an assist, Pickle a goal and Carter an assist.
The Whippets had only three seniors, Carter, Vincent Miller and Jorge Orduna. Cooper feels there are some young players who could step up into starting roles next week, including seventh grader Avery Nicholson and eighth grader Demarion Gillespie.
“We set goals. Did we make them? No. But we kept striving for them.”
Lanna Nunley had two goals and Mary Patton Henderson two assists against Louisville. Raven Pernell, Molly Steed, Lorelai Bell and Kaleigh Lewis each had a goal, Gracie Williams an assist. Nunley scored against New Hope with an assist from Pernell.
“We knew we were stepping into a district that had West Lauderdale, a power in soccer,” Cooper said. “We knew Newton County would be a challenge. We knew Choctaw Central would have a good team.”
The Lady Whippets were beaten twice each by West Lauderdale and Newton County, but the scores showed the improvement during the season. The first time around in December games, Kosciusko lost 6-0 to West Lauderdale and 7-0 to Newton County. In January rematches West Lauderdale won 3-2 and Newton County in a shootout.
“I was very pleased with how they learned from the first encounter, then bounced back.”
There were seven seniors – Henderson, Nunley, Anna Carol Gowan, Gracie Singletary, Arissa Olive, Anna Catherine Cheek and Austin Jones.
“They're going to be missed. They made a lasting impression on our program. The good thing is that we also had seven juniors.”
The biggest hole to fill is on defense with the loss of the three who started most of the season. Cooper feels Anna Lauren Watts, an eighth grader, can fill one of the spots.
Cooper plans to have a summer program that might include seven-on-seven scrimmages offered at community colleges.