Oxford boys soccer defeats Ridgeland for North Half berth

Published 8:22 pm Saturday, January 28, 2017

RIDGELAND – In a neutral playoff game, the Oxford Chargers took on the Ridgeland Titans in a hard-fought game, that ended with a Charger victory, sending them to the MHSAA Class 5A North Half Championship where they will host Germantown on Tuesday night.

With most of the first half revolving around solid defense and minimal opportunities, it was Oxford’s captain Keaton Calhoun, who struck first with a clean finish after a perfect lead pass that put him in great position to score. With the first score on the board, Ridgeland made a push to the goal but were unsuccessful, after Oxford keeper Griffin O’Neil cleared the ball with ease to end the half.

With a one goal lead, all Oxford needed was a repeat of the first half and they would secure a tough road win over Ridgeland. The Titans had other plans. With a little over 32 minutes left in the game, Juan Ramirez found himself with a one on one situation with O’Neil, which he promptly put away to tie the game at 1-1.

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With both teams on the board, each squad found their second wind to create an exciting last 25 minutes of high school playoff soccer.

Not to be outdone by Ramirez’ finish, Brookes Kevin found himself on a run down the wing and secured his own breakaway goal after a Ridgeland blunder on the clear. With a little over 19 minutes and after a goal by Kevin put the Chargers up one, Ridgeland began to scrambled for quick goals. The Chargers would deflect chance after chance, many of the Ridgeland runs being conducted and many times carried out by Ramirez, himself.

An excited Oxford Head Coach Charles Sabatier was pleased with his team’s second half effort, after winning a rough game against Ridgeland. “We could have played better, but a win is a win. I am really proud of the way they stepped up in the second half against a physical team like this. They responded well, kept their cool, and just played soccer.”

The Oxford defense, especially some outstanding play from junior defensemen, Mateo Jekabsons, led the Chargers to a 2-1 win over the Titans. The Chargers will play again Tuesday and host the next round of playoffs.