Caledonia midfielder Jane Claire Newman fights for possession against a Senatobia player Monday night. Newman scored the game’s only goal in the third minute. Photo by: David Miller/Special to The Dispatch
February 6, 2018 12:50:45 AM
By DAVID MILLER
Special to The Dispatch
CALEDONIA - Kaydence Sudduth made five second-half saves to help lift Caledonia High School's girls soccer team to a 1-0 playoff win over Senatobia Monday night.
Sudduth, an eighth-grader in her first full season as a starter, turned in her fifth clean-sheet of the season and her best performance of her young Caledonia career.
Sudduth weathered a trio of corners in the final 13 minutes and turned away a shot by Senatobia senior captain Anna King, who shot low to the far post from 12 yards out in the 59th minute. Then, with just six minutes to play, Sudduth rejected Shukira King's shot after the Senatobia forward had turned a long-range free kick into a deft touch and a one-on-one chance from 13 yards out.
"Usually, it's only two or three [saves per game]," Sudduth said. "That last one was the toughest - the one that hit me in the face."
Caledonia (9-8) will play at Northeast Jones (17-5) in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs Saturday. Northeast Jones beat Amory 2-0 Monday night.
Sudduth's goal was peppered from the first minute when Senatobia forward Macy Stevens broke away on a long run, only to see Sudduth clear the ball at the top of the 18. Then, in the second minute, Sudduth spilled the ball in front of goal, but Senatobia's Grace Foster clanged the ball off the post inside the six-yard box.
Relief came a minute later when, following a corner kick, Jane Claire Newman hit a low-crosser back post and gave Caledonia a 1-0 lead.
"We were shook up to begin with," said Louis Alexander, Caledonia coach. "We camped out and absorbed the pressure, and once the girls got settled in, I think it opened up, and they came into their own, especially in the second half."
Entering Tuesday's game, Senatobia had scored seven or more goals in four of its last five games. However, the Warriors ended the season with their second consecutive shutout loss after falling to Corinth on Jan. 22.
Caledonia struggled to contain King and Stevens over the top and through the middle of defense. Sudduth said a lack of communication and misplaying balls in the air gifted the Warriors extra opportunities.
Alexander said "all of Sudduth's saves" made his heart skip a beat, but he was confident in her decision-making, particularly against the long ball.
"We knew their two forwards had jets," Alexander said. "It was something we were prepared for. We knew we'd get beat here or there on the long ball or through ball - those girls could get on the end of it on speed alone. But I told Kaydence, 'if it looks like they have a break, I want you coming out. I don't care if it's the wrong decision, I want it 100 percent.' She came through for us big time."
Caledonia's Lizzie Truelock was credited with an assist. Clara Allen and Megan Rodriguez each had six steals for the Lady Feds.
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