Only four teams from The Meridian Star's coverage area made it through the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association's state soccer playoffs.

It's safe to say the second round on Saturday will be much tougher for those four.

West Lauderdale's boys and girls, the Clarkdale girls and Newton County boys will all be in action Saturday in the state quarterfinals. Clarkdale and Newton County will both have to hit the road, but the chores for the two West teams may be even more daunting.

The Lady Knights, 21-2 overall and ranked ninth in the state, will host Ridgeland — the three-time defending Class 4A state champs — Saturday at 1 p.m. at The Kingdom.

West Lauderdale, the Division 2 champ, blanked Northeast Jones 6-0 in opening-round action behind at least one goal from Sarah Birmingham, Kylie Rowell, Brittany Uhl, Morgan Gullette and Rachel Reeves.

Ridgeland, meanwhile, stands 14-6-2 after a brutal schedule and a first-round, 8-2 win over Pontotoc.

The Lady Titans are paced by Rachel Givan — the reigning Miss Soccer in Mississippi and widely considered the state's top player. Givan and Melissa Myers had a pair of goals each and Becca MacNeil scored three times in the win over Pontotc.

The task at hand for the West Lauderdale boys is just as tough. The Knights, 10-4 overall after a 4-1 win over West Jones, will take on No. 1 Pearl at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Knights, the Division 2 regular-season champs, got a pair of goals from Jud Godwin in their first-round win. Pearl, which is an impressive 24-2-1, beat Oxford 1-0 behind a goal by David Slowik.

Clarkdale's girls will head to Madison Saturday for a second-round match with the host Lady Bruins — a contest tentatively set for 1 p.m.

The Lady Bulldogs beat the Mississippi School for Math and Science 6-0 in a first-round match to improve to 12-2-2. Lainie Simcox and Sarah Beckman had a pair of goals apiece for Division 4 champion Clarkdale.

St. Joe's girls are 8-6-1 overall after blanking Amory 5-0 in first-round action behind a pair of goals from Janet Self.

Like the Clarkdale girls, the Newton County boys were regular-season champs in Division 4. The Cougars will go to Class 3A Corinth for a 2 p.m. battle with the Warriors on Saturday.

Newton County is now 11-1-3 after beating Caledonia 5-1 in first-round action, when Daniel Ostina scored four goals for the Cougars.

Corinth is 15-7 after whipping St. Aloysius 4-1 behind two goals from David Palmer in the first round.

The MHSAA state semifinals are Tuesday, and state championships are Feb. 10-11.





Area teams playing in the second round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association state soccer playoffs Saturday:

Class 4A Girls

Ridgeland at West Lauderdale, 1 p.m.

Class 4A Boys

Pearl at West Lauderdale, 3 p.m.

Class 1A/2A/3A Girls

Clarkdale at Madison St. Joseph, 1 p.m.

Class 1A/2A/3A Boys

Newton County at Corinth, 2 p.m.

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