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By Robert Wilson
Photos By Chris Todd
Jackson Prep girls soccer coach Jon Marcus Duncan will be going for his 28th MAIS state championship Monday at Prep.
But it took a second-half comeback Thursday night to get there.
Prep scored three goals in the second half for a come-from-behind, 3-1 victory over Madison-Ridgeland Academy in the MAIS Division I semifinals at Prep.
Ole Miss commitment Evie Ewing passed to Ella Wesley Davis to give MRA a 1-0 lead at the 17th minute in the first half. Dylan Burkhalter scored Prep’s first goal to tie up the game at 1-1 at the 48th minute, then Torrey Polk gave Prep the lead 2-1 at the 56th minute. Olivia Smith added an insurance goal at the 69th minute.
Two-time defending MAIS Division I state champion Prep, 16-3, plays host to Jackson Academy, 16-4-1, Monday at 4 p.m. at Prep. Duncan will be going for his 14th girls title to go along with his 14 boys titles in his 22 seasons at Prep. Prep defeated JA in the finals for the past two seasons. JA and Prep have split in two meetings this season, JA won 3-1 and Prep won 2-0. MRA finished 10-7 and was 0-3 against Prep, losing 2-0 and 2-0 and 3-1.
“I’m excited for this group of seniors on getting to play for another championship,” Duncan said. “We had a great second half after coming out a little flat in the first half. Josie Duncan, Anders Morgan, Bradley Carter, Annie Jicka, Kelsey Clay, Kate Ferguson and goalkeeper Madeleine Black were our defensive leaders and kept MRA from scoring in the second half.”
“We came out strong and controlled the first 20 minutes of the game,” said MRA coach Lauren Stratton, who was trying to take MRA to its first championship game since 2017 in her seventh season at MRA. “We finished a great goal and then Prep stepped up their intensity and we never got back in control. Prep is always a tough team to beat.”