Soccer Playoff Roundup: Loyd Star girls to take on McLaurin Wed. in second round

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Here’s a look at how local teams faired in the first round of the MHSAA soccer playoffs over the weekend.


Loyd Star 4, Morton 1 (Girls)

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A year after beating Morton in the MHSAA Class I first round for the first postseason win in program history, the Loyd Star girls’ soccer team repeated that feat with a 4-1 win on Friday to start the 2023 playoffs.

The Hornets are now 17-3 overall and will face McLaurin High (4-9-1) on Wednesday at Brandon High.

Against Morton, it was the duo of senior Mary Claire McCurley and junior Abby Burnette that provided scoring for the Hornets as the two have done throughout their careers.

Burnette, the two-time reigning Daily Leader All-Area MVP and Southwest Mississippi CC signee, scored two goals and had one assist. Burnette added two goals and one assist as well.

“At the beginning of the game, I think our nerves were getting to us and causing us to do things uncharacteristic to ourselves,” said LS coach Jordan Lea. “When we finally settled down and started playing our games instead of theirs, we played much better.”

McCurley has now scored a team best 37 goals this season while Burnette had tallied 27 goals of her own.

Maria Piazza and McCurley are the only two seniors on the roster for the Hornets.

“One thing I’ve learned about this group of girls is that they are resilient, when things don’t go our way, we don’t quit,” said Lea.

Kickoff against McLaurin at Brandon is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.

East Central 7, Brookhaven High 0 (Girls)

East Central led 3-0 at the half and never looked back on Saturday to eliminate Brookhaven High in the opening round of the MHSAA 5A playoffs.

Brookhaven High and coach Dustin Bairfield end the 2022-2023 season with a record of 10-8 and finished in third place in Region 6-5A behind West Jones and Florence and ahead of Natchez High.

Next year, the Panthers will be in a new soccer region as the MHSAA implements a 1A-7A system for the first time.

Making up the new Region 3-5A alongside Brookhaven will be Florence, Natchez, South Jones and North Pike.

Seniors on the BHS roster this season included Maelee Thibodeaux, Leslie Williamson, Maryann Boyte, Ramie Stovall and Lizzy Donegan.


East Central 2, Brookhaven High 0 (Boys)

The Brookhaven High boys’ team competed well against East Central in Hurley on Saturday, but dropped a close loss to the homestanding Hornets.

Coach Aaron Ayers has a junior class heavy roster that will return tons of experience next season. The Panthers do lose longtime goal scoring leader Cole Cruthirds to graduation from a squad that finished 13-5-1 this season.


Southeast Lauderdale 4, West Lincoln 2 (Girls)

One of the best seasons in the short life of West Lincoln girls’ soccer ended with a road loss on Friday at Southeast Lauderdale in the first round of the MHSAA Class I playoffs.

West Lincoln and coach Dane Hodges finish the season with a 14-6 overall record and earned a playoff spot for the second time in program history.

Southeast Lauderdale (12-9-1) next plays at St. Patrick (Biloxi) in the second round.

The season was a great success for Hodge’s crew as they replaced two seniors who signed to play community college soccer and still increased their win total by ten wins over last season.

Seniors suiting up for West Lincoln this season included Kate McClatchy, Hannah Boyd, Cara Jarancik, Faith Jones, Bailey Bozeman and Deanna Lofton.

Lofton and junior Abbi Norsworthy scored a goal each in the loss at SE Lauderdale. Jarancik added an assist for the Bears in the loss.