There was a challenge made at halftime.
“I challenged them at halftime for not playing with urgency and confidence at all,” said West Jones girls soccer coach Craig Winship. “We made a few movement type changes on the field, but I felt like we stepped up and took control of the game in the second half. It changed the whole pace of the game.”
Down a goal at the break Friday night against Region 5-5A and county rival South Jones, the Lady Mustangs not only accepted the challenge but made good on it. Two second-half goals gave West Jones a 2-1 victory as well as one game closer to its second region title in three years.
West Jones (12-3-2, 4-0) will face Laurel (5-12, 2-1) Saturday in a home game on the schedule at Wayne County again due to muddy field conditions in Soso.
"I would like to thank Wayne County," said Winship. "We've played more home games here than we have on our field [due to muddy conditions]. We've played four home games here and one at our place. The finals are on turf, so any opportunity we get to play on this, we're in."
Senior forward Breonna Williams equalized the match seven minutes into the second half, and senior forward Katie Beth Sumrall netted what turned out to the winning goal minutes later.
"Our touches were better in the second half," Winship said. "When you play on turf, your skills come into play more than on grass. This surface doesn't give at all. I was pleased with how we played in the final half."
Both second-half goals came from inside the box.
The notable difference was how the Lady Mustangs scored the two goals less than 10 minutes into the final 40 minutes.
"In the first half, we were connecting passes, connecting passes, and trying to hammer it," added Winship. "In the second half, we were connecting passes until we got an opportunity at a good shot."
Winship said winning district is essential to having home-field advantage in the playoffs."
"This is where you want to be," said Winship. "You want to be winning games at the end and winning your division because if all goes well, we'll have some home games in the playoffs, whereas last year, we played three games on the road, and it mattered."