Mississippi Gulf Coast put on a stifling defensive display Wednesday at Fulton, shutting out Itawamba 2-0 in the MACJC quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs will advance to play in the semifinals Saturday against archrival Pearl River. Kickoff will be at 4 p.m.
"I thought we played well," Gulf Coast coach Chris Handy said. "I thought we did good things. We approached the game with the right intensity, and I think we understood what it was going to take to win the game and did those things."
Griffin Bush (So., Pearl/Pearl) scored off a deflection in the 11th minute to put the Bulldogs (12-6) out front. Christian Inchima (Fr., St. Edmond Campion/Brampton Ontario) iced the game in the 87th minute.
Isaiah Gore (Fr., Laurel/Laurel) posted the team's ninth shutout of the season by making four saves.
"To get a shutout in a playoff game is big," Handy said. "I thought Isaiah had a great game for the work he had to do. The backline, the entire backline, I think all of them played the entire 90 minutes, except for the last 40 seconds. They handled their business. I was really proud of them."
The only downside to the victory came in the final minute when defender Chad McKnight (Fr., Terry/Byram) was given two yellow cards in an incident where a player stepped on his neck. He'll miss the Pearl River game.
The Wildcats (12-1) won the South, but playing them first is fine with Handy. The winner will have to turn around and play in the finals against the Hinds-Jones winner at 6 p.m. the next day.
"Playing a back-to-back with a limited number of players, if we have a chance to beat those guys it's going to be this way," he said. "We'll be fresh and hope it's our day."
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