SBLive Weekly Boys Soccer Wrap (Dec. 19): Tupelo makes statement with 2-1 win over region rival Oxford

Each week, the team at SBLive Mississippi will take an in-depth look at the past week’s high school boys soccer action, as well as a look ahead to the action to come in the following week. 

Here’s a look at the weekly boys soccer wrap for the week of Dec. 12 to Dec. 18.

Game of the Week

Tupelo 2, Oxford 1

Year after year the matchup between the Tupelo Golden Wave (9-2-0) and Oxford Chargers (7-5-0) is one each team circles on their calendar. Not only does the game have huge playoff implications with the two teams sharing a region, but quite frankly each team wants to win this game more than just about any other. 

The Chargers were coming off a difficult region loss to Starkville, 2-5. That loss made this game ever the more important, as the Chargers were potentially looking at being outside the playoff picture with a loss to Tupelo.

The Golden Wave were coming off a disappointing trip to the Jackson metro. Losses to two of 6A’s best in Northwest Rankin and Madison Central is nothing to be too upset about, but nonetheless Tupelo was looking to return to their winning ways.

The game got off to a quick start, with Tupelo nearly scoring the opener in the first minute. Forward Tim Elders found himself with space at the top of the box. He hit a half volley shot that required a diving save from the Oxford goalkeeper. 

Oxford had a chance of their own in the 10th minute when JC Love played the ball wide to teammate Connor Sweeney. Sweeney laid the ball back into the path of Love who had appeared to have the space for a dangerous shot, but a great close by the Tupelo defense cut out the chance. 

The Chargers kept up their pressure but it was Tupelo who found themselves with a chance to take the lead in the 27th minute. Forward Tim Elders beat his defender in the box and pushed the ball toward the end line. He whipped in a dangerous cross that drilled the outstretched arm of an Oxford defender. 

The ref awarded a PK to Tupelo, but they were unable to take advantage as the penalty kick shot went well over the bar. The teams went to half tied 0-0 in a heated contest. 

In the second half Tupelo proved they were the better team in the matchup. They generated a multitude of chances in the first fifteen minutes of the half. Including a mad scramble in front of the Oxford goal that saw multiple shots saved off the line by the Oxford defense.

The Golden Wave’s pressure finally broke through in the 53rd minute when West Hill scored a fantastic goal. Forward Daven Sanders found himself in behind the Oxford defense. With just the goalie to beat, Sanders let rip of a shot that was nicely saved. The ball then fell to Hill who from the far left side of the box blasted a shot that went straight to the upper right corner of the goal. 

Tupelo had their lead, and they never relinquished it. They added a second from Tim Elders off a penalty kick in the 63rd minute. Oxford got a last minute goal from Asiel Rodriguez in the 80th minute but it would prove to be too little too late. Tupelo was a 2-1 winner in a great regional contest. 

Goals: West Hill (53’, Tupelo), Tim Elders (63’, Tupelo), Asiel Rodriguez (80’, Oxford)
Assists: Daven Sanders (53’, Tupelo), JC Love (80’, Oxford)

Players of the Game
Tupelo – West Hill 
Oxford – JC Love

Up next:

Tupelo dropped a heartbreaking game to Starkville 4-3 in extra time on Thursday night. They now head into the Christmas break with region matches looming on the other side against Grenada and Oxford.

Oxford will meet up with Lewisburg on January 4th and then Grenada on January 6th. They will then have a chance for revenge against Tupelo on January 11th

Other top results across the State this week:

Tuesday, Dec. 14
Desoto Central 0, Lewisburg 1
New Hope 6, Neshoba Central 1
Biloxi 2, Gulfport 1
Gautier 0, East Central 0 – East Central wins in shootout
Brandon 1, Petal 1 – Brandon wins in shootout
West Jones 3, Pearl River Central 2

Thursday, Dec. 16
Lafayette 0, Saltillo 1
Tupelo 3, Starkville 4
Petal 2, South Jones 1

Friday, Dec. 17
Madison Central 1, Clinton 2
Stone 0, Bay 1
Richland 1, Florence 3
West Lauderdale 0, Northwest Rankin 7
Biloxi 3, Long Beach 0

A look ahead (Jan. 2 – Jan. 8)

With most teams in the state heading into the Christmas break SBLive’s soccer coverage will pick back up the first week of the new year. 

MORE:  Full boys soccer schedule

Game of the Week 

Tuesday, Jan. 4
Madison Central at Germantown

Saturday, Jan. 8
Oxford at Northwest Rankin 

Other games to watch

Tuesday, Jan. 4
Oxford at Lewisburg
Olive Branch at Center Hill
Gulfport at George County
Northwest Rankin at Clinton
Our Lady Academy at Long Beach

Thursday, Jan. 6
Olive Branch at Desoto Central
Amory at Tupelo Christian Prep
Our Lady Academy at Sacred Heart
Sumrall at Clarkdale

Friday, Jan. 7
Saltillo at Lewisburg
Ocean Springs at D’Iberville
Center Hill at Florence
St. Andrews at Pearl
St. Patrick at Gulfport

Saturday, Jan. 8
Lafayette at Itawamba Agriculture 
Amory at Corinth
New Hope at Caledonia
Center Hill at Madison Central
Oxford at Northwest Rankin

Dylan Tribolet

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