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Lafayette’s Kirkland Pruitt signs with SMCC

For most of her high school career, Kirkland Pruitt had no destination in mind after her time with the Lafayette High soccer team. That changed Tuesday morning as the senior signed with Southwest Mississippi Community College.

The pairing of Pruitt and SMCC happened when she was attending a tournament in Summit and Lady Bears head coach Betty Casey liked what she saw.

“We’re just playing in a tournament, and during halftime, (Casey) came over and talked to me,” Pruitt said. “She said, ‘Hey, I’m real interested in you and like how you play. Let’s start talking. … It takes a lot of stress off because I have been so concerned because I haven’t been getting any offers.’”

Pruitt did not have a list of schools she was choosing between but rather was taking a broad view of what she wanted. She just wanted to play somewhere and SMCC answered the call.

During her four years at Lafayette, Pruitt has played defense as well as a midfielder and has scored one goal. When she moves to Summit next fall, the roster is quite full at each position as the Bears have six players listed as midfielders and five players listed as a defender. They also have three players who are listed as a midfielder and a defender.

“(Casey) said we’ll start training next summer, so we’ll get right into it,” Pruitt said of potentially having to wait her turn. “She’ll probably try me around and see what she likes me best at. She’ll probably use me as a defender. … I feel more comfortable defending, but you can put me anywhere and I’ll try my best.”

With her future figured out, Pruitt can focus on trying to lead Lafayette back to a third straight Class 4A state championship appearance and vie for their second state title in three years. As a senior, she provides the experience and leadership head coach Melinda Scruggs is looking for on the back end.

“(Pruitt) is someone who is never going to stop and going to give 110 percent no matter what,” Scruggs said. “She’s never satisfied, which is a great thing. She wants to continue, wants to grow as a player.”

Pruitt wants to continue her collegiate career after her two years at SMCC and hopes a four-year school will take a look at her. She is considering degrees in either exercise science or zoology.