Loyd Star soccer eliminated in Class I quarterfinals

Published 4:16 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The best collective season in Loyd Star soccer history ended Saturday with a pair of losses on the road for the Hornets in the MHSAA Class I semifinals.

The LS girls’ team dropped a 6-0 loss to St. Patrick in Biloxi and then the boys’ squad was beaten 7-0 by Sacred Heart in Hattiesburg.

The Hornets were the final 2A team remaining in Class I, a classification that is made up of all soccer playing schools in 1A, 2A and 3A.

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Samantha Reed, an eighth-grader, made 30 saves for the Loyd Star girls’ team in their loss.

Jordan Lea coaches both Loyd Star teams. His girls’ team finished with a record of 18-4 and his boys’ squad ended up going 15-7.

“Our girls were able to compile the best record in their team’s history, even though nearly half the team hadn’t played prior to this year,” said Lea. “A lot of people doubted us after losing such a big senior class the previous season and wrote us off as having a rebuilding year. We didn’t rebuild though, we reloaded and proved a lot of people wrong.”

Seniors on the team this season included Southwest Mississippi CC signee Mary Claire McCurley and Maria Piazza.

The team picked up a first round playoff win over Morton and then beat McLaurin to reach the third round for the first time ever.

“This group doesn’t surrender and doesn’t quit,” said Lea. “They could have done that when we got down to St. Patrick, but they fought to the very end and that makes me prouder than anything.”

Likewise, the LS boys’ team had a big senior class that departed last season after taking the Hornets to the playoffs.

Again, Lea had a young group of players that stepped into increased roles as the Hornets got a first round playoff win at home over Southeast Lauderdale and then beat Crystal Springs on the road in the second round.

“We knew coming in that Sacred heart was a state title favorite,” said Lea. “Despite that, we gave it our all. They left it all on the field and gave max effort and hustled and never quit. That’s the kind of team every coach dreams of having.”

The Class I South State championship on the girls’ side pitted St. Patrick against fellow parochial school, Our Lady Academy, of Bay St. Louis.

Likewise, the boys’ Class I South State championship is two schools that charge tuition in Sacred Heart against St. Stanislaus of Bay St. Louis.

Like its counterparts on the girls’ team, the LS boys’ squad has just two seniors this season in Carter Holcomb and Bryan Gonzalez.

“I’m very much looking forward to seeing what these boys can do next year,” said Lea. “They sky is the limit for these boys if they stick together. The future is very bright, and I can’t wait to see it unfold before us.”