Lafayette is facing a different Lewisburg team in 5A North Final
Tuesday’s 5A North Final between Lewisburg and Lafayette is technically a rematch of a January 24th 4-0 Commodore win.
But, this time around, it might be a completely different game.
The Lewisburg that took the field at Lafayette High in January had already secured the top seed in the 5A playoffs, and Lafayette coach Melinda Scruggs wasn’t sure if Lewisburg played its regular lineup.
It goes without saying the Lady Patriots’ regular lineup will be playing Tuesday night at 5 p.m., which is a team that operates somewhat similarly to Lafayette.
Lewisburg beat Saltillo on Saturday 3-1, and two of those goals came on converted corner kicks. Lewisburg coach Scotti Miles mentioned how hard the Lady Patriots have worked on those set pieces.
“I joke, we call them set piece specialists,” Miles told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “And we have leaps and bounds gotten better.”
Scruggs, after beating Center Hill 5-0 Saturday, echoed a very similar sentiment. After all, Lafayette had nine corner kick opportunities against the Mustangs and likes to create opportunities off set pieces like Lewisburg.
“I think you can win and lose games off of set pieces,” Scruggs said. “We do a good job of going over those.”
However, it would tough to beat Lafayette if the Commodores repeat the performance they put out on Saturday. Five different players scored in the 5-0 rout, in a game where the Commodores neutralized a bigger, and more physical offense.
Lafayette created almost a dozen scoring opportunities in the first half by just playing patient soccer. They controlled the ball and worked around Center Hill with crisp passing.
Every time Lafayette lost possession, a defender would find a way to get it right back. Every time Lafayette passed, a Commodore was always there to receive.
“We are a possession-oriented team,” Scruggs said. “Playing quickly, getting the ball in the box on crosses, that’s what was working for us.”
Being possession oriented may work out in Lafayette’s favor. According to the Daily Journal, Saltillo coach Matthew Reeder said his team outshot Lewisburg on Saturday, but Saltillo just didn’t capitalize.
Lafayette did the same Saturday, outshooting Center Hill by a massive margin, but the ‘Dores were able to capitalize on their chances. Capitalizing on any opportunity against Lewisburg could be aided by the comfort of Lafayette’s home field.
Lafayette played extraordinarily well on an unfamiliar surface Saturday, as Center Hill’s pitch is on grass, while Lafayette normally plays on turf. The ‘Dores will be back on the comfort of turf tonight.
This is Lafayette first North Final match since 2016, which was also the year the Commodores went to the state championship game.
The Lafayette-Lewisburg winner will advance to play the winner of the Long Beach-West Jones matchup, which will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Long Beach.
A win could also solidify Lafayette as a potential favorite in the state title game, but Scruggs squashed any looking ahead with a stern message of “We’re not done” to her team after beating Center Hill.
“We always talk about taking one game at a time,” Scruggs said. “That’s the next one ahead of us.”
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