Winner advances to Sunday’s championship match
Photo credit: Jadyn Duran (left), a sophomore from Las Cruces, New Mexico, commands the ball in a recent playoff game vs. Co-Lin Community College. (Credit: Kevin Pitts, nwccrangers.com)
For the third straight season, the Northwest women’s soccer program clinched another trip to the NJCAA Region 23 Semifinals with last Saturday’s 7-0 win against Copiah-Lincoln.
Now, the Lady Rangers will face another familiar foe in their quest to capture a Region 23 championship – the Holmes Lady Bulldogs. The battle will occur on Friday, Nov. 3 at 4:30 p.m. in Ellisville, with the winner advancing to Sunday evening’s championship match.
Holmes leads the all-time series with Northwest by a 17-7-4 margin, but it was the Lady Rangers that came out on top during the regular season meeting on October 6. Ranked third in the NJCAA at the time, Northwest fought for a 1-0 victory against the previously-ranked No. 1 Lady Bulldogs, earning the first win against Holmes since the 2014 season.
Northwest (18-1, 10-1 MACCC) and Holmes (17-1, 10-1 MACCC) were two of the three teams that claimed a share of the MACCC women’s soccer title this season, joining top-seed and tournament host Jones College in the three-way tie. For the Lady Rangers, it marked the first conference title in program history.
Aside from a 3-0 loss to Jones College and 7-1 victory at St. Louis Community College earlier this season, Northwest has shut out all of its opponents this season while outscoring its opponents by a 108-4 margin. Already the most goals scored in a single season by any Northwest team; the Lady Rangers rank third in the NJCAA for goals scored with the second-fewest goals allowed.
Northwest has four players that have scored 10 or more goals this season, led by 13 apiece from Evie Crawford and Mari Julia Delgado. The duo also lead the team in assists, with Delgado notching 11 and Crawford adding 10, respectively. The Lady Rangers have also gotten 12 goals this season from Alexandria “Penny” Warner and 11 from Jadyn Duran.
Defensively, the core unit of Amaya Andrews, Raylin Dixon, and Bre’Aunna Harps have established themselves as one of the toughest back lines in the nation. Last year, the Lady Rangers gave up just nine goals on defense, but that total is even less this season, with only four given up.
Another big addition to the Lady Rangers has been freshman goalkeeper Anna Kathryn Harrell. The Tupelo native has collected MACCC Goalkeeper of the Week honors four times this season, including two NJCAA Goalkeeper of the Week accolades. With 55 saves and only four goals given up, Harrell has already broken single-season and career records for shutouts (15) and wins (16-1-0).
However, Holmes has a prolific offense of its own, ranking third in the NJCAA for goals scored (112). Kristen Phillips leads the Lady Bulldogs in goals scored (29) while ranking third in the nation. Additionally, five other players are also in double digits for goals scored, including Jaycelyn Russ (16), Olivia Tribolet (14), Bailee Fairley (13), Brianna Lopez (11) and Tailynn Remmel (10).
Defensively, Holmes has been carried by goalkeeper Addi Roberts, who has 58 saves and an 11-1 mark between the posts. Karly Murphy has also earned six wins as a secondary goalkeeper for the Lady Bulldogs while also earning 21 saves.
Limited tickets are available for Friday’s semifinal showdown, with advance tickets available for $10 online at jcbobcats.com/tickets . Leftover tickets will also be sold at the gate the day of the match for $15, but fans are urged to buy tickets online to guarantee their spot.
Fans can also watch Friday’s match online via jcbobcats.com/watch.