Oxford soccer split with Northwest Rankin
OXFORD – For the no. 4 team in the state, a one-goal affair doesn’t happen too often. Thursday evening, the Oxford girls knocked off no. 10 Northwest Rankin to advance to 12-1-1 and remain undefeated against teams from the state.
“This is why we play games like this, we want to play a playoff atmosphere right before Christmas break,” said head coach Hunter Crane. “I though we came out and controlled them. We let them hang around a little too long, but I’m proud of the way we thought.”
Northwest Rankin is the kind of teams Oxford will see in the playoffs. Really, they can learn much more from games like this, than they can blowing teams out by five goals.
The girls drew motivation for this game from their first loss of the season on Dec. 15 to Gulf Breeze, FL. In the 4-2 loss, Oxford took a 2-0 lead into the half, before surrendering four second half goals. Thursday, they wanted to show that loss was a fluke.
“It was 2-0 at half and we came out flat and didn’t put a team away,” Crane said, talking about the game in Florida. “We let them crawl back into it and made some mental mistakes. Tonight it’s 2-0 at half and I mentioned that Gulf Breeze game. When you have your foot on someone’s throat, you have to put them away.”
Entering Christmas break, Oxford will not play again until Jan. 5, a layoff of over two weeks. It’s tough for the coaches to make sure rust doesn’t form, especially for a team playing as well as Oxford is right now. However, it’s also an opportunity to give the girls some rest, gearing them up for another January run.
Boys lose a close clash
On the boys side, the Chargers lost a close 1-0 game to the no. 4 team in the state in Northwest Rankin. The loss drops Oxford to 10-4 on the year, but the team fought hard, and there’s still a lot of soccer to be played for the no. 11 team in the state.
“I’m really proud of the effort they put out there. They showed great intensity at the end to try to get that goal back,” said head coach Charles Sabatier. “We just made some mistakes in the second half turning the ball over too much.”
Oxford plays a tough schedule and they don’t shy away from playing some of the better teams in the state like this one. While a 6A team in their own rank, Oxford doesn’t have to schedule teams that are as good as Northwest Rankin, but it’s all a teaching moment for Sabatier.
The boys will be play an alumni scrimmage on Dec. 30, but like the Lady Chargers, have over two weeks off until their next games. Sabatier said he looks at it like three separate seasons. One season before thanksgiving, one from thanksgiving to Christmas, and then the New Year.