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ICC opens season with pair of shutout victories over Gulf Coast

FULTON, Miss. (WTVA/ICC Athletics) — With temperatures flirting with triple digits, the ICC soccer teams found a way to battle the elements and come away with a pair of shutout victories over Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on Friday.

“Credit not only our players, but also Gulf Coast’s players for playing in these temperatures today,” said Coach Mike Sullivan. “To ask anything more out of these kids in conditions like this would be crazy.”

Hannah Anderson (New Albany) scored on an assists from Carley Burns (Olive Branch) to give the Lady Indians (1-0; 0-0 MACJC North) an 1-0 lead midway through the first half and would maintain the advantage going into the break.

“We came out a little shaky to start the game, but I feel like when we got that goal midway through the first half it really helped calm us down a little and we were able to play with a little more confidence,” said Coach Cody Carson.

Alyssa Kelley (Saltillo) gave the Lady Indians some breathing room when she stuck back a rebound off a Lady Bulldog (0-1; 0-0 MACJC South) defender to put ICC up 2-0 early in the second half. Abbey Westmoreland (Saltillo) and the Lady Indian defense took care of business to earn the teams’ first shutout of the season.

“I’m proud of the effort the girls played with today,” said Carson. “Only having three subs in these type of temperatures is asking a lot out of any team. The defense played outstanding and didn’t allow Gulf Coast very many shot-on-goal opportunities and the shots they were able to get off were highly-contested shots. We are hoping to see a lot more of that throughout the season.”

In men’s action, Anthony Fernandez (New Albany) put the Indians (1-0; 0-0 MACJC North) up 1-0 off an assist by Dylan Howard (Starkville) midway through the first half.

“Dylan has a great touch on the ball and a knack for finding guys in the right spot at the right time,” said Sullivan. “He did a great job of playing the ball to Anthony’s feet and put him in a really good position to be able to find the back of the net.”

Ben Schaefer (Tupelo) went the distance in net for the Indians to secure the shutout victory over the visiting Bulldogs (0-1; 0-0 MACJC South).

“A lot of people wondered how we would be after losing a player like [Cullen] Grantham in net this season and it didn’t feel like we skipped a beat with the way Ben played this afternoon,” said Sullivan. “I thought the defense did a great job not giving Gulf Coast easy scoring opportunities and that really helped take some of the pressure off of him and freed him up to be able to make plays.”

Things won’t get easier for the ICC soccer teams as they will host South Division power Jones County Junior College on Tuesday. The Lady Indians start things off at 2:00 and the Indians will follow at 4:00 p.m.

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