HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER: MHSAA 3A QUARTERFINALS – Mills, Lady Cougars get big semifinal victory, South Pontotoc tags sudden death with winning goal

By JONATHAN WISE/ Sports Writer

South Pontotoc's Breanna Kitchens (8) brings the ball down field vs. Choctaw Central on Saturday in Philadelphia. Breanna netted a goal off a corner kick in the 18th minute of the first half to put the Lady Cougars up 2-1. In sudden death, South defeated the homestanding Lady Warriors 3-2 in this MHSAA 3A quarterfinal game. (Photo by Jonathan Wise)

South Pontotoc’s Breanna Kitchens (8) brings the ball down field vs. Choctaw Central on Saturday in Philadelphia. Breanna netted a goal off a corner kick in the 18th minute of the first half to put the Lady Cougars up 2-1. In sudden death, South defeated the homestanding Lady Warriors 3-2 in this MHSAA 3A quarterfinal game. (Photo by Jonathan Wise)

PHILADELPHIA, MS. — With the Lady Cougars needing only a goal to win in the third, and sudden-death overtime period Saturday afternoon in their North Half semifinal matchup against the Choctaw Central Lady Warriors, South Pontotoc seventh grader Judith Mills was in the right place at the right time.

Her outstanding play helped to send the Lady Cougars to the North State title game played this week.

Judith Mills

With the game tied 2-2 after two indecisive ten-minute overtimes, Breanna Kitchens lined up a free kick and Mills followed up the shot, heading the ball into an uncovered goal to give South a 3-2 win and a berth in the 3A North Half final this week.

“I just knew that if I scored, it would win it for us,” Mills said. “So I just tried my best and it went in. I was thankful God gave it to me.”

“That thing (Kitchens’ shot) was headed right into their keeper’s hands,” said South Pontotoc head coach Horace Kitchens. “She thought she had it and I did too, but Judith came out of nowhere and whopped it in. I can’t say enough about her and all of them for the way they battled.”

The first half

South (11-4) got on the board in the opening minutes of the game when Tristan Kitchens slammed one in off of an assist by Mills.

However, the Lady Warriors (17-3) responded quickly with a goal from Jashaunique Steve to knot the contest at 1 all.

Breanna Kitchens scored off of a corner kick in the 18th minute to put South up 2-1, a score that held up through the half.

The rest of regulation

Steve netted another to tie the game in the 50th minute, a score which held until Mills’ game-winner in the third overtime.

“We came out and put the ball in the net in the first few minutes of the game,” Coach Kitchens said. “We had them on their heels, but then we got caught way too far up and they popped the ball over our head and put it in the net. After that we lost our composure and didn’t regain it until the two ten-minute overtimes.

“We just had to settle down and play our game. We dominated the overtimes; I don’t think they even had a shot on our goal.

“We had some kids play hurt and go back in and suck it up for the team,” he added. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”