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New Hope boys' soccer edges Caledonia to make playoffs


New Hope midfielder Jake Crosson celebrates the first of his two goals with Daniel Bradley.

New Hope midfielder Jake Crosson celebrates the first of his two goals with Daniel Bradley. Photo by: David Miller/Special to The Dispatch






Special to The Dispatch 


CALEDONIA - Jake Crosson is at home in Caledonia. 


The New Hope senior midfielder netted a pair in last season's derby match at Caledonia, and he followed that act Tuesday with a pair of goals, including one in overtime, to lift the Trojans to a 2-1 win and a berth in the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A playoffs. 


Crosson, who moved from attacking midfielder to defensive midfielder this season, was in the right spot at the right time for both of his goals, floating around the edge of the 18 as deflected shots fell right at his feet in the 28th minute and two minutes into the first overtime period. 


"I seem to play well when I come here, and it was running through the back of my mind that I can score on this field and help us win," Crosson said. "All week, we'd been talking about pressing at the top of the 18 and being there for when those balls come through. On both, I was there, waiting at the top of the 18, and both balls trickled through to me." 


New Hope has won eight straight games since a 3-1 loss to Caledonia and a 1-0 loss to Kosciusko in mid-December. The Trojans (12-4, 4-2 Class 4A, Region 3) had kept four clean sheets in their previous seven games before Tuesday. The Trojans will play at Corinth on Tuesday in the opening round of the playoffs. 


"I start nine seniors, and since that loss (to Caledonia), they realized our season might be in jeopardy," said Andrew Olsen, New Hope coach. "So I've just been preaching that this is their last ride. That's what kind of changed our momentum." 


Caledonia's bid to return to the playoffs seemed on solid footing in the first half, as the Confederates (7-8-2, 3-3) routinely found gaps through the flanks for long through balls and lobbed passes. But the few chances the 'Feds created inside the box were either turned away by the goalkeeper or knocked wide. Caledonia's inability to finish in front goal had been a reoccurring them down the final stretch of the season, which saw them lose four of their final five games. The 'Feds were shut out twice and held to a single goal in two other games during that stretch. 


"We've been struggling to find the back of the net," said Louis Alexander, Caledonia coach. "I felt we had more chances than New Hope did - clear cut ones, anyway. We just couldn't put it on frame, and when we did, we made it easy for the 'keeper. 


"These seniors ... it's real to them now that it's over. As a coach, you can say it over and over, but at the end of the day, they're kids - they have a hard time seeing 10 minutes into the future, let alone days and weeks. I'm devastated." 






Caledonia 5, New Hope 1 




Caledonia scored four goals in the first half and forced an own-goal in the second to claim a season sweep of Caledonia and end region play undefeated. 


Hallie Kate Brewer scored two goals, while Jane Claire Newman and Lauren Brown each netted a goal. Brewer also added two assists. 


Caledonia finishes the regular season at 8-8-1 overall and 6-0 in district play. 


Maddie Beard scored the lone goal for New Hope (5-9, 2-4).



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