Meridian Star

August 16, 2013

ECCC ready for ‘new’ challenge

From school reports
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     A new head coach and a “new” attitude will hopefully provide success for the East Central Community College women’s soccer team, which begins the 2013 campaign Thursday, August 22 at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Game time is 4 p.m. on the Wesson campus.

    Gray Massey takes over the Lady Warrior program from Kenneth Thompson, who led the squad during its current eight years in the league while also serving the past 14 years as men’s coach. Thompson continues to lead the men’s program and will assist Massey with the women’s team. Massey in turn will serve as Thompson’s assistant.

    Massey, whose resume includes three state soccer championships while leading girls’ and boys’ soccer programs at Florence High School, said he “looks forward” to the 2013 campaign and helping lead the Lady Soccer Warriors to a successful year.

    The Lady Soccer Warriors struggled in 2012 and finished 3-14 overall and 2-6 in the MACJC North Division.

    However, Massey said the squad will be much improved in 2013.

    “We have a good core returning with MACJC All-State keeper Alana Turner as well as other key contributors such as midfielders Morgan Luke and Claire Milling and defender Paige Gower,” said Massey.

    Turner was a member of one of Massey’s state championship squads at Florence. Luke is a product of Newton County High School while Milling and Gower hail from West Lauderdale and Clarkdale high schools, respectively.

    Massey also expects midfielders Mackenzie Britt of Florence, Sydney Dawkins of Clarkdale, Miranda Clark of Neshoba Central, defenders Heather Johnson of Newton County and Kennedy Castleberry of Clarkdale, forward Bailey McElroy of Clarkdale and transfer forward/keeper Erika Joyner of West Lauderdale, “to use their experience as freshmen to provide solid play on the field.”

    Massey said he is also “very pleased” with his first recruiting class.

    “The freshman group includes several standouts, including defenders Addie Ambrosier of Magee and Tesi Keith from Corinth,” he said. “This class will look to forwards Tamia Calvert of Murrah, Kennedy McReynolds of Southeast Lauderdale and Madi Trapp of Philadelphia to provide goals.”

    Massey added he expects forward Ashlan Culberson of Brandon “to provide support in the middle of the field,” while midfielder/defender Jessie Herrington of Neshoba Central “will provide depth to the back line.”

    Another newcomer is keeper Alana Walker of Pascagoula, who is recovering from ACL surgery and will be redshirted this season to rehab her injured knee. She will serve as a team manager for the 2013 season.