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Three Columbus United teams advance to state tournament


From Special Reports



The Columbus United Under-12 and U-14 boys and the U-16 girls soccer teams qualified for the Mississippi Soccer Association State Championships May 5-6 in Meridian. 


The U-12 boys team, sponsored by Bob Roberts BBQ, took second place at the district tournament to earn a spot in Meridian. The team defeated Oxford, Starkville, and Tupelo in bracket play to advance to the championship match. In the championship the team lost to Amory United. 


Top scorers were Ian Misiak and Chris Taylor. Goalkeeper Clay Burleson anchored a defense and received support from backs Aidan Dunkelberg, Chris Williams, and Manuel Martinez. 


Glenn Misiak, Jonas Oswalt, Tyson Brown, and Brett Robertson also are members of the team, which is coached by Brian Misiak. 


"Clay was the primary goalie," coach Misiak said. "Jonas anchored the defensive effort and was supported by Aidan, Chris Williams, and Manuel. Glenn was the 'center; of the offensive effort and had support from Ian, Chris Taylor, Brett, and Tyson. Glenn controlled the center of the field. Glenn and Brett also scored several goals. Jonas was able to pick up one goal. We have a young team and look forward to competing at State." 


The U-14 boys won the Northern District championship by defeating Amory, Desoto County, Tupelo, and Oxford. Anchored by a physical and fast defense, the team allowed only one goal. Goalkeepers Eli Hemphill and Will Rollins received support from backs Avery Velek, AJ Reed, Daniel Longmire, Sam Young, and Andy Blakney. 


The team utilized a multitude of scoring threats, including Kobe Van Someren, Roger Shilling, Charles Stanback, and Caleb Gurley. ┬áThe wins run the team's record to 27-3-1. It remains ranked No. 3 in the state. 


Coach Tom Velek noted many of the boys were on the team that won the district championship at U-12 in 2010, but lost at state to the eventual state champion South Madison. 


"We feel our chances are very good to do improve on our last trip to state," Velek said.  


Assistant coaches are Chris Hemphill and Roger Shilling. 


The U-16 girls finished second in a round-robin bracket to advance to state. They lost to Desoto County and played Saltillo to a draw on the first day, but they bounced back to beat Starkville and Tupelo to finish second. 


Goal scorers for the team were Missy Swaim (three), Effie Morrison (three, and Brooke Lester. Coaches Don Whitman and Derrick Parnell recognized goalkeeper Mackenzie Harvey as key to the team's success. 


"Goalkeeping is what kept us in games and is why we made it to state," the coaches said. "Harvey played the best tournament of all. (She made) amazing save after save." 


Other members of the team are: Alyssa Corbett, Ashley Martian, Lucy Anne Smith, Katy Whitman, Abby Wilson, Farris Bradley, Brooke Younger, Kayla Smith, Madison Thrasher, Taylor Hayes, and Abby Whitman.



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