Starkville rival wins playoff game, puts Jackets season to an end

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Anna Richey

Ashton Staton lines up to cross in ball.

Ben Harvey

The Jackets faced the Oxford Chargers Tuesday night at home in the first playoff game of the season. The Jackets suffered defeat, losing to the Chargers 4-2.

Sophomore Max Buehler scored the first goal for the Jackets within 10 minutes of the second half beginning.

Buehler and the rest of the team were disappointed with the loss coming so early in the playoffs, especially since they had already played and beaten Oxford earlier in the season.

“I think we played really well. Our defense slipped up toward the second half of the game, so we lost our lead. If we had focused more on defense, I think we probably could’ve won,” Buehler said.

Buehler is upset that his team didn’t make it further into the playoffs. His teammate, fellow sophomore Nicholas Popescu came into the game towards the middle of the second half.

“Oxfords team has really been training hard. They’ve been going to the weight room and really focusing on our weaknesses. They knew what they were going to be facing beforehand having played us before and I think that really gave them an advantage during the training season,” Popescu said.

Sophomore Joshua Eaves played goalkeeper for the Jackets keeping up a good defensive fight against the tough Oxford offense. Eaves blocked numerous attempted shots by the Chargers.

“You always want to block every single shot that comes close to the goal, but you can’t get them all. You want to try and block them all but some just slip passed you. We put up a really good fight and we’ll be training really hard next season,” Eaves said.

Eaves is hopeful about the next season his team will play. He thinks it’s possible for the Jackets to make it state next year with some changes to the way the team plays defensively and how they train.

Sophomore Holloway Willsey started for the jackets Tuesday night. He believes that the Oxford team learned everything they could about the Jackets to prepare for the first playoff game.

“We watched a lot of tape on Oxford before this game. Our coaches had us review a lot of our mistakes and good plays to try and from some new strategy. Our offense played really well but we let in too many goals, so we’ll probably need to work on defense,” said Willsey.

Although the loss to Oxford took the Jackets out of the playoffs the team is ready to keep training so they can do better next season. The Jackets will continue playing during the regular season next year.