By Datti Jinkiri
The Gulf South Conference (GSC) recently announced its women’s soccer and men’s soccer preseason rankings. The Lady Choctaws were projected to finish in third, while the Choctaws were picked to finish in fifth. Both teams had solid regular seasons and qualified for the conference tournament last season.
The Lady Choctaws finished second in the conference, with a 12-4-2 record in 2021. The team hit the ten-win mark for the sixth straight season (not counting the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season). They also made a fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament before losing to Florida Tech on penalty kicks in a tough match.
Three Lady Choctaws were named to this season’s Preseason All-GSC Team. Defender Emma Young, midfielder Avery Hederman, and forward Beatrice Currie each have made a name for themselves during their Mississippi College careers.
Young racked up a plethora of honors last season and was named First Team All-GSC, First Team All-South Region, and the GSC Defensive Player of the Year. The senior played over 1,600 minutes and tallied two assists.
Hederman – who is also a senior – was also an All-South Region and an All-GSC selection. The Jackson native scored six goals and added four assists while also starting all eighteen matches in 2021.
Forward Beatrice Currie led the team in goals (nine) and points (twenty-one) last season. The graduate student garnered First Team All-GSC and Second Team All-South Region honors.
The Lady Choctaws also had two players make the GSC’s newcomers watchlist. Defender/Midfielder Eduarda Silva and midfielder Margherita Giubilato were named as the team’s top newcomers.
The Choctaw men finished the 2021 season with a 10-6-1 mark. The ten wins was the team’s highest since 2017, and the seven GSC wins tied for the team’s highest since moving to the Division II level. Their season came to a close with a 1-0 loss to Lee University in the conference tournament.
Defender Josh Davies and forward Noah Wagner were two of the team’s top performers last season. They were named as the Choctaws’ representatives on this year’s Preseason All-GSC team. Junior Nicolas Milot and freshman Felix Ewald were named to the GSC’s newcomers watchlist.
Davies – a Southampton, England, native – is a two-time all-conference honoree. The junior scored three goals in 2021 and also anchored a defensive unit that tallied seven shutouts. On top of that, Davies also featured for the Clinton-based Mississippi Brilla FC this summer, where he was a key member of the USL League Two team’s defense.
Wagner’s first season in Clinton was impressive, as he tallied seven goals and two assists. The former junior college All-American was named Second Team All-GSC for his efforts and will be leading the line for the Choctaws in 2022.