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Caledonia, New Hope split soccer doubleheader


Adam Minichino



CALEDONIA -- McKellar Fishel won the award for the best potential Vine in the Golden Triangle on Tuesday night. 


The only problem is it might have been too cold for anyone to have captured his creativity in blending Vine sensation TerRio, rapper Meek Mill, the song "Oooh Kill'em" and high school soccer. 


Despite temperatures that were hovering in the low to mid 20s, Fishel punctuated his two goals with renditions of the dance moves seen on Vine that accompany the popular rap song. The goals proved just enough as the Caledonia High School boys soccer team held on for a 2-1 victory against New Hope. 


In the girls game, Effie Morrison had a hat trick to lead New Hope to a 3-1 victory. 


While Morrison warmed up the New Hope girls in the opener, Fishel did his best to fight the chilling temperatures with a move in which he swung his right arm like he was winding up and bent down so his fingers could skim the ground. The maneuver very easily could have been Fishel trying to strike a match to the ground to warm everyone up. 


"I said I would do that if I scored," Fishel said. 


The sophomore said he has done the move in practice many times and promised his teammates he would do it if he scored in a game. He earned two chances to show he could be the next TerRio by getting behind the defense and tucking one under goalkeeper Wells Davis in the 22nd minute and capitalizing on a failed clearance in the 35th minute to give the Confederates (9-2) all the scoring they needed. 


Caledonia coach Mark Box was especially pleased by Fishel's play because he said it has been kind of a running joke all season that Fishel shoots and scores all of the time in practice but hasn't been as fortunate in games. On Tuesday, Box said he switched Fishel and Will Jones and moved Fishel to striker. 


"It worked out pretty good," Box said. 


Caledonia controlled the first half with solid possession play before New Hope (4-6-1) regrouped at halftime. The Trojans responded by carrying the better of the play in the final 40 minutes. The pressure paid off in the 46th minute, as Roger Shilling converted a penalty kick following a hand ball in the box. Dylan Southard replaced Eli Hemphill in goal in the second half and came up with two big saves to help preserve the victory. His best saves came in the 49th minute when he made one save and recovered in time to deny Jerrod Bradley's point-blank attempt. 


"(Assistant coach Will Taylor) told them there was a lack of hustle to the ball (in the first half), which was pretty much a lack of intensity," New Hope coach Mary Nagy said. "The passes were not to the feet, we were not getting to the ball, and there was a lack of communication. He told them if they picked up there and played to the ball and began to talk things would improve. We did see a huge pickup in hustle and could hear communication and a big change in the overall way they played in the second half. Had they played that way in the first half I think we would have had a different outcome. There was a big difference in the second half and a lot more energy." 


In the girls game, Nagy said her team overcame a slow start in the first seven to 10 minutes by connecting short passes and picking up the energy level. Farris Bradley and Tuva Rasmussen helped spark the Lady Trojans (8-2-1) by setting up Morrison on the first goal. Bradley earned the initial assist by passing the ball out wide right to Rasmussen. The junior transfer student delivered a great cross into the box that Morrison timed perfectly and headed into the upper left corner. 


Siri Solem helped make it 2-0 with another dandy assist. The junior midfield found Morrison with a lead pass that threaded the defense and allowed her teammate to run onto the ball and tuck it under goalkeeper Alex Burns for a 2-0 lead. 


Caledonia stole the momentum back in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but Nagy said New Hope regrouped in time to get another insurance goal. Harvey then had two good saves in the final 20 minutes to preserve the victory. 


"The start of the second half was kind of the same way as the beginning of the match," Nagy said. "Then they started to realize the errors of their ways and immediately somebody said we're not letting this happen again and we have to pick it up. It went our way after that." 


Caledonia (5-7) cut the lead in half on some nifty combination passing. Hope Burton started the play in the middle and feeding Jordan Wade on the right wing. Wade carried the ball into the attacking third and sent a cross into the middle of the box. The pass found a wide open Lexi Lu, who one-timed it past goalkeeper McKenzie Harvey in the 54th minute. 


Nothing else got past Harvey, who repeatedly came off her line to kick the ball out of danger or to deny oncoming attackers a chance to gain possession or to get a shot. 


With Harvey denying nearly everything that came into the box, Morrison got behind the defense in the 64th minute and tucked a third goal home with her left foot to account for the final margin. 


The victory closed the regular season for New Hope, which has qualified for the Class 5A North State playoffs. Nagy said New Hope will travel to play Ridgeland or Vicksburg next week. She said the boys would play Monday and the girls would play Tuesday if they have to play different opponents. Nagy and Taylor coach the girls and boys teams. 


While New Hope has a few days to warm up and regroup, Caledonia will take on West Point on Thursday and Itawamba Agricultural on Friday. Those matches will mark the end of the season for the girls, while the boys most likely will play host to a first-round playoff match Tuesday. 


Caledonia girls coach Jason Forrester was pleased with the way his team played only to be done in by an inability to finish scoring chances. 


"We just have to play better," Forrester said. "We just couldn't finish a few when we needed to. The last two games the varsity group has played so well. They have possessed ball really well, moved it around the field, and have had chance after chance after chance, but we just have been unable to finish them when we needed to." 


Box was equally excited about his team's showing, particularly in the first half. He credited New Hope for coming out with more intensity in the second half. 


"We played really well," Box said. "We possessed the ball and controlled the field a lot and got a lot of scoring opportunities." 


Fishel welcomes more scoring chances because the next time he is in position to capitalize maybe someone will have their phone ready to catch his moves. That way a fan of the Confederates can use Vine, a mobile service that lets users capture and share short, looping videos. The brevity of the videos (six seconds or less) is similar to the concise nature of tweets, which are 140-character text messages. 


Either way -- tweet or Vine -- the message is out about the Caledonia boys being ready for postseason play. 


"We're playing pretty good," Fishel said. "We are young, but our chemistry is good because all of us have played for about eight years. We know each other and where each other is going to be, we know who to give it to for scoring. It has helped us a long way."  


Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor.


Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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