Sunday, August 25, 2013

How the Elite 8 fared Week 1

The Jackson Sun covers 13 counties in West Tennessee – Madison, Gibson, Carroll, Crockett, Hardin, McNairy, Hardeman, Haywood, Benton, Weakley, Henderson, Chester and Decatur Counties.

If you see a discrepancy, please email me at

If you missed the district breakdowns, log onto for a report.

1. USJ (D2-A) (1-1) – Beat Dyersburg 7-0; Lost to Houston 3-1

2. Jackson Christian (15 A-AA) (1-0-1) – Beat Northpoint Christian 8-0; Tied Sacred Heart 2-2

3. Sacred Heart (D2-A) (2-0-1) – Beat South Gibson 8-0; Beat Chester County 1-0; Tied Jackson Christian 2-2

4. Chester County (14 A-AA) (0-1) – Lost to Sacred Heart 1-0

5. Liberty (15 A-AA) (0-0-1) – Tied Dyersburg 2-2

6. Madison (15 A-AA) (2-0) – Beat Adamsville 4-3 (OT); Beat JCM 11-0

7. South Gibson (13 A-AA) (0-1) – Lost to Sacred Heart 8-0

8. TCA (15 A-AA) (1-0) – Beat Scotts Hill 4-0

Monday, August 19, 2013

Preseason Girls' Soccer Elite 8

The high school girls’ soccer season begins today with a few games across West Tennessee.

Here are my personal thoughts on the top eight teams in our coverage area.

The Jackson Sun covers 13 counties in West Tennessee – Madison, Gibson, Carroll, Crockett, Hardin, McNairy, Hardeman, Haywood, Benton, Weakley, Henderson, Chester and Decatur Counties.

1. USJ (D2-A) – The Lady Bruins lost just two starters off last year’s team that reached the Division II-A state semifinals, and they return all of their attacking players including Rachel Giampapa, Madison Perchik and Addison Dunn.

2. Jackson Christian (15 A-AA) – The Lady Eagles are back in Division I and could be the team to beat. Georgia Hopkins, Amelia Grizzell and JuliaAnne Landsdale will be the leaders on the field for Jackson Christian this season.

3. Sacred Heart (D2-A) – The Lady Knights return 10 of 11 starters from last year’s team that reached the Class A-AA state quarterfinals. Players like Alice Nelson and Amber Winkelman will help make the transition to Division II-A smoother.

4. Chester County (14 A-AA) – The Eaglettes return all but three players on last year’s roster that reached the Region 8 A-AA semifinals. Baylie Pruett is tough to stop going to goal.

5. Liberty (15 A-AA) – The Lady Crusaders reached the Class A-AA state quarterfinals last year. Liberty lost three seniors, but has plenty of talent returning. Alana Byrd was The Jackson Sun’s 2012 Defensive Player of the Year.

6. Madison (15 A-AA) – The Lady Mustangs reached the Region 8 A-AA semifinals last year, and they return most of their attacking players. Rebekah Guthrie, Madison McKnight and Paige Castleman will be the go-to players.

7. South Gibson (13 A-AA) – The Lady Hornets return seven starters from last year that fell in overtime in the region quarterfinals. Juniors Abby Alexander and Emily Rice try to lead this team to a district championship this season.

8. TCA (15 A-AA) – The Lady Lions bring back all but three players from last year’s squad. Seniors Phalon Jones and Kayce Stovall are the leaders of the team, and they will be the players that can take TCA to the region semifinals and championship.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Breaking down District 15 A-AA soccer

We conclude our look at the West Tennessee girls’ soccer districts today with District 15 A-AA. With North Side dropping from Class AAA to A-AA, there are no AAA girls’ soccer teams in our coverage area.

District 15 A-AA is made up of 11 teams, but just like in years past there doesn’t look to be enough girls’ soccer teams in Memphis, so the district will go straight into a region tournament in postseason play.

Jackson Christian moves back to Division I after four years in II-A.

This district also has the third team from West Tennessee that made the Class A-AA state tournament last season – Liberty.







North Side

Scotts Hill




Jackson Christian




The Lady Cardinals return seven of the 11 starters from last year’s squad.

Anna Johnson was named the 2012 South Division Defensive MVP, and she returns for her senior season.

Adamsville also returns goalkeeper Olivia Wright, so the Lady Cardinals should be sound defensively.

Also watch out for the play of Olivia Johnson and Kelsee Berryman.


The Lady Cougars have struggled recently, but the team is looking to try and pick up a few wins this season.

Riece Stone and Morgan Tucker lead JCM on attack.


The Lady Crusaders made their first-ever trip to the state tournament last season.

Liberty loses some key components from last year’s team including Dahona Leasure and head coach Julie Carter.

Alana Byrd, The Jackson Sun’s 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, returns for her senior year.

The Lady Crusaders also had some young freshman that stepped up to help the run to state last season, but will they be able to keep the momentum going?


The Lady Mustangs made a run to the region semifinals before falling to Sacred Heart. Madison is again under a new head coach in Jacob Long.

Long does have many skill players back for this season. Paige Castleman and Rebekah Guthrie return for their senior year and will be two of the go-to players on attack.

Madison McKnight will be a junior this year and another player to watch on attack.

The Lady Mustangs should battle for the top spot in the district.

North Side

The Lady Indians are under a new head coach in The Jackson Sun’s 2012 Coach of the Year Julie Carter, who moves over from Liberty.

North Side drops down from Class AAA to A-AA this season and should be more competitive in the district.

Carter will try to mold the Lady Indians into her style that uses speed as a big asset.

Scotts Hill

The Lady Lions stay in the same district as last year, but the district is full of new teams. That could be good for Scotts Hill as they try to consistently be competitive in every game.


The Lady Chargers reached the Region 7 A-AA semifinals before falling to Westview 3-1. Covington is in a new district and region this fall.

Head coach Robert Luttrell returns seven starters from last year’s squad including defender J’La Brandon and midfielder Ann Marie Van Cleve.

The biggest returner though is last year’s region defensive MVP Callie McDaniel, Covington’s goalkeeper.


The Lady Tomcats enter their second year under coach Mixon Moore. Haywood finished the season with a win over Trenton Peabody in the region tournament.

The Lady Tomcats are in a new district and region also and look to continue to improve.

Jackson Christian

The Lady Eagles are back under coach Jeff Lean. They also made the move from Division II-A to Division I.

Jackson Christian won back-to-back district titles in 2007 and ’08 before making the move to Division II. The Lady Eagles hope to find their way back to the district title.

Jackson Christian lost five starters from last season, but return talent in junior Georgia Hopkins and sophomores Amelia Grizzell and JuliaAnne Landsdale.


The Lady Tigers have struggled to find wins. Ripley is still young though with great potential to find ways to start winning.

A new region and district might help the Lady Tigers to do just that.


The Lady Lions went through a rebuilding year last season, and only three senior graduated last season.

TCA played some young players that have matured into their roles on varsity.

Senior Phalon Jones leads the team offensively, and senior Kayce Stovall is solid in the goal.

Look for players like senior Caroline Priddy and sophomore Jennifer Briley to have strong seasons.

Predicted order of finish:


1. Liberty

2. Madison

3. Adamsville

4. Scotts Hill

5. North Side

6. JCM


1. Jackson Christian

2. TCA

3. Covington

4. Haywood

5. Ripley

Region semifinals: Liberty vs. TCA; Jackson Christian vs. Madison

Region championship: Liberty vs. Jackson Christian

Region champion: Jackson Christian

Sectionals: JCS vs. Dyersburg; Chester County vs. Liberty

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Breaking down District 14 A-AA soccer

Today we will look at District 14 A-AA in girls’ soccer. This district will meet up with 13 A-AA in the region tournament, but remember only the top two teams from each district will advance to regions.

Geography is a big problem when looking at this district, and that is why it has been split into divisions.

In the north, you have South Fulton that is near the Tennessee-Kentucky border. In the south, you have McNairy Central that is near the Mississippi-Tennessee border.
All of the teams in the south were members of District 15 A-AA last season.



Gibson County

Trenton Peabody

South Fulton

South Side

Chester County



McNairy Central

Gibson County

The Lady Pioneers have struggled recently, but a change in scenery might be just what the team needs to pick up a couple of wins.

Gibson County is in the side of the district where it can gain confidence by getting just a few wins.

Trenton Peabody

The Lady Tide went 6-11 last season, and they were put out by Haywood in the region tournament.

The good news for Peabody is that three of those wins came against teams that are in its division now – Gibson County twice and South Fulton.

Watch for senior leadership that Brooke Gonzalez, Alliyah Jarrett, Qua’shae Lee and Rachael Schulze bring to the squad.

South Fulton

The Lady Red Devils have improved over the past four years and are looking to take the next step in the journey to the top. South Fulton has the potential to win their division and maybe make a run at the district title.

Chester County

The Eaglettes made the Class A-AA state tournament two years ago and made the region semifinals last year.

Chester County graduated three off last year’s squad including Darby Miskelly, but the Eaglettes have plenty of talent returning.

The senior leadership of Baylie Pruett in attack and Sarah-Grace McNeil on defense will be big for Chester County.

The Eaglettes also return other key elements to last year’s team like goalkeeper Destiny Morris, midfielder Talia Hinson and midfielder Cami Melaro.


The Lady Wildcats picked up their first win of the season last year in the region tournament as they beat Kingsbury.

Fayette-Ware would like to carry that momentum into this season.


The Lady Tigers return eight of 11 starters from last year’s team, and they are under a new head coach.

Kirk Childers has taken over for outgoing coach Michael Chambers.

Lexington returns plenty of talent on the field with senior Kendall Chambers at forward and juniors Micah Blundell and Molly McWilliams at midfielder.

McNairy Central

The Lady Bobcats have been rebuilding the past two seasons, but they could be ready for a deep run in the postseason this year.

McNairy Central returns junior Rebekah Lowrie, who led the team in scoring last year, and the Lady Bobcats only lost three players to graduation.

Also watch for senior Porsha Chappell and junior Haven Phelps to have good seasons.

South Side

The Lady Hawks return nine starters from last year’s team and are looking to make a move up the standings this year.

South Side is led by three seniors in midfielder Meg Parker, midfielder Martha Perez and goalkeeper/forward Amy Arnold.

Predicted Order of Finish:


1. South Fulton

2. South Side

3. Trenton Peabody

4. Gibson County


1. Chester County

2. Lexington

3. McNairy Central

4. Fayette-Ware

District semifinals: Lexington vs. South Fulton; Chester County vs. McNairy Central

District championship: Chester County vs. Lexington

District champion: Chester County

Region semifinals: Dyersburg vs. Lexington; Chester County vs. South Gibson

Region championship: Dyersburg vs. Chester County

Region champion: Chester County

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Breaking down District 13 A-AA soccer

We continued our district soccer previews today with District 13 A-AA.

Yesterday, I looked at Division II-A West. For the next three days, I will look at the three Class A-AA districts.

Having three districts in Class A-AA is major change from last year when 13 A-AA and 14 A-AA were combined into one region because 13 A-AA did not have enough teams to compete as a district.

Many of the top teams from Region 7 A-AA were moved into District 13 A-AA. Dyersburg and Westview met in the region championship match the past four years. Both are in 13 A-AA, but will have a different look this season.


Crockett County



Obion County

South Gibson


Crockett County

The Lady Cavaliers must replace an important part of their attack as Carli Sisson, The Jackson Sun’s 2012 Offensive Player of the Year, has graduated along with Katie Williams.

Crockett County is also under a new head coach in Justin Cichello.

Seniors Janea Clement and Tara Dillon will be two of the leaders on this year’s team that will try to keep the Lady Cavaliers competitive in West Tennessee.


The Lady Trojans have been the team to beat in Region 7 A-AA the past four years, as they have won four straight region titles and advanced to the state tournament in 2009 and ’10.

Dyersburg beat Westview 3-2 last year in the title game, but lost to Liberty in sectionals.

The Lady Trojans should again have a tough team under Greg Stapleton as Sadie Liljenquist will lead the attack.


The Lady Rebels will look to improve this season and try to make a run in the postseason.

McKenzie was put out in the first round of the Region 7 A-AA tournament last year by Crockett County.

Obion County

The Lady Rebels reached the Region 7 A-AA semifinals last season before falling to Dyersburg 5-0.

Obion County had an overtime win over South Gibson in the quarterfinals to reach that spot.

Soccer at Obion County has improved over the past couple of years under head coach Daniel Johnston as the boys’ team reached sectionals last year before losing to Trinity Christian Academy.

South Gibson

The Lady Hornets have not fared well in overtime during the postseason the past three years. They lost in all three times.

But this could be the year South Gibson turns it around. This is the second year the Lady Hornets have been under head coaches Michael Young and Ethan Ellis.

South Gibson returns seven starters from last season. Junior Abby Alexander will lead the Lady Hornets on attack after scoring 23 goals and adding six assists last year.

Junior Emily Rice will work to control the midfield for South Gibson.


The Lady Chargers were hit hard by graduation after last season with six seniors on the roster. Leading scorer Kayla Guthrie, goalkeeper Makenzie Vincent and midfielder Shelby Donavant are gone.

Westview will also be under a new head coach as Matt Cupples stepped down following last season. Hannah Steadman is the new head coach.

One positive for the Lady Chargers is that they have eight rising seniors this season, so leadership on the team should be fine.

Watch for players like Reagan Brock and Alex Crosser to step up.

Predicted order of finish:

1. Dyersburg

2. South Gibson

3. Westview

4. Obion County

5. Crockett County

6. McKenzie

District semifinals: Dyersburg vs. Obion County; South Gibson vs. Westview

District championship: Dyersburg vs. South Gibson

District champion: Dyersburg

Friday, August 9, 2013

Breaking down Division II-A West soccer

The fall high school sports season is quickly approaching, so it is time to take a look at which teams have a chance to make a deep run in the postseason.

I will be previewing each of the girls’ soccer and volleyball districts over the next 11 days. I will begin with girls’ soccer and then move into volleyball.

Today, we look at Division II-A West soccer. Two of the three teams that reached a state tournament last year from West Tennessee are in this district – Sacred Heart and University School of Jackson.

Sacred Heart moves to Division II-A after competing in Division I last season, and Jackson Christian made just the opposite move going back to Division I.



Fayette Academy

Rossville Christian

Sacred Heart

St. George’s



University School of Jackson

The Lady Bruins have reached the Division II-A state tournament for the past four seasons with two state titles and a runner-up finish.

Last year, USJ reached the semifinals before falling to University School of Nashville.

The Lady Bruins went 17-4 last season and lost just two seniors Anna Pearson and Rachel Butler.

Three USJ players were selected to the All-West Tennessee team last season, and all three are back this year. Junior Rachel Giampapa, 22 goals and eight assists, led the team in scoring and should be the go-to player up front.

Junior Madison Perchik, three goals and 16 assists, along with sophomore Addison Dunn, 18 goals and eight assists, should control the middle of the field.

Junior Shelby Williams will be the anchor on defense.

Sacred Heart

The Lady Knights also return most of the squad that reached the Class A-AA quarterfinals last season. Sacred Heart graduated one senior in defender Janie Bistolfi.

Two players from Sacred Heart were named to the All-West Tennessee team last season, and both are back for their senior campaigns.

Alice Nelson, 17 goals and six assists, and Amber Winkelman, 19 goals and 14 assists, are both midfielders, but also were two of the top attackers on the team.

Sophomores Emma Sopcak and Amily Whitaker started last year as freshmen, so they will have a year of experience under their belt this year.

The Lady Knights were 15-5-1 last season, but competition will take a step up this season with the Division II-A teams.

District projections:

1. USJ

2. St. George’s

3. Sacred Heart

4. Fayette Academy

5. Rossville Christian