The MCC Athletics Blog

Officially the "unofficial" MCC Athletic Blog; created for all Eagle fans- so that they can keep tabs of their favorite JuCo team.

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Friday

MCC Soccer Opens Season With Victory



From School Reports

The Meridian Community College men's soccer team got its 2016 season started on Thursday night at C.D. Smith Field against Holmes Community College and things got started on the right note for the Eagles.

MCC came away with a 4-2 victory over the visiting Bulldogs to notch its first win of the season and also give MCC head coach Mike Smith his first men's head coaching victory at MCC.

The Eagles got on the scoreboard first in the 19th minute behind a goal from Pedro Dutra and never looked back in taking the two-goal victory over Holmes. MCC would get two more goals in the first half to carry a 3-1 lead over Holmes heading into halftime.

Jeremy Smith and Thallison Alex would score one goal apiece in the first half to give MCC the 3-1 edge. MCC would pick up one more goal in the 77th minute of the second half from Alex to secure the 4-2 victory.

The MCC men will return to action next Wednesday night (August 31) in a match against rival East Central Community College at C.D. Smith Field beginning at 7 p.m.

The MCC women will open their 2016 regular season on Saturday at Delta State beginning at 4 p.m. and then the Lady Eagles will play their first home match of the season on August 31 against ECCC at 5 p.m.

Thursday

MCC Athletes Assist Louisiana Flood Victims



From School Reports

The Meridian Community College tennis, baseball, and golf teams recently went the extra mile to help the flood victims in the state of Louisiana by sending items to assist in recovering efforts. The three athletic teams collected items that will be sent to the state that will play a role in some of the help that Louisiana so desperately needs in its time of recovery. The three teams were assisted in its efforts by members of the East Philadelphia Baptist Church that will be taking the items to Louisiana in the coming days. Former MCC tennis star Rusty Parsons, who is now the pastor of East Philadelphia Baptist Church, is spearheading the trip to Louisiana to distribute the items collected by the athletes at MCC.
Bailey Hargrave, an MCC baseball sophomore, led the efforts among the athletes to collect the items that will be sent to the flood victims. Hargrave led the charge among the baseball, tennis, and golf teams at MCC  with the assistance from their head coaches. The coaching staff that got involved in the recovery effort from MCC included: Wanda McPhail (tennis), Dillon Sudduth (baseball), and Ronnie Key (golf).

Friday

MCC Soccer Ready For 2016 Season



From School Reports

The 2016 Meridian Community College soccer season is on the horizon and the expectations are very high once again for both teams heading into the rough waters of the MACJC. MCC coach Mike Smith will now serve as head coach for both squads heading into 2016 season and each team should provide plenty of excitement for local soccer enthusiasts. The two squads will return a wealth of experience at key positions on the field and the mix of talent could provide for many special moments for the program that still boasts the only junior college National Championship in soccer among all of the schools in the state of Mississippi.

The team with the most experience heading into the start of the season will be the MCC Lady Eagles who advanced to the MACJC State Playoffs a season ago and are looking to make a giant step forward in 2016. The Lady Eagles will return five key players from its 2015 squad and MCC head coach Mike Smith is extremely excited about the championship possibilities of his women’s team.

"I really like this women's team,” said Smith. “I think we have a lot of experience coming back. We were young on the field last season, so I think the girls going through the battles last year will benefit this season. We expect nothing short of competing for a Region 23 title. The girls are determined and still have a bad taste in their mouth after the 1st round loss last year.”

Effie Morrison will look to lead the charge in 2016 for the Lady Eagles after leading the team in goals last season with 18 and being named to the All-Region Team. The 18 goals in her first season was also second among all players in the MACJC. The other key factor will be on the defensive side for the Lady Eagles as Kylee Burke will return for her sophomore season. Burke was named a member of the MACJC All-State Team and started all 18 games last season at defender for the Lady Eagles. Madison Drummond, Abbie Pope, and Abbey Pate will also be returning for their sophomore campaign at MCC after starting 17 games together at midfield in 2015. The veteran leadership at the midfield spots for the Lady Eagles should prove to bring plenty of chemistry to the field this season for the Lady Eagles.

The new additions to the women’s team this season will include: Alandria Smith (Laurel High School), Jackson Murrah (Laurel High School), Zaria Husband (Laurel High School), Jessica Clark (Tuscaloosa), Gabrielle Joyce (Jones JC transfer), and Samantha Vogel (Jones JC transfer). MCC will also look for solid minutes from newcomers Kayla Jefcoat (West Jones High School) and Lindsey Jenkins (South Jones High School) at defender.

The MCC men’s soccer team is looking to bounce back in a big way this season as Smith will take over the duties of head coach for the first time in his career. The MCC men will also have several key returning starters from the 2015 squad that finished 2-14 overall, but those players should provide plenty of veteran leadership.

"The men had a tough season last year,” said Smith. “They were very unlucky that things didn't go their way in a couple games or they could've won a few more. I think the guys are fired up for the season to get started. They are looking at it as a new season and a new attitude, and they've been working very hard this preseason, and we think we can make the playoffs this season.”

The men will be led by returning goalkeeper Joe Smith who will be one of the top returning goalkeepers in the conference in 2016. Smith had a great start to his 2015 season by winning the MACJC Goalkeeper of the Week and will look to be a veteran presence on the team this season. MCC will also return forward Elijah Wheat and defender Jeremy Smith to the 2016 team. Wheat scored three goals last season for the Eagles and saw his freshman season end early with an injury, while Smith started every game as a freshman for the Eagles and should prove to be a solid presence as a defender.

The Eagles will look to lean on a ton of youth in 2016 with key additions to the team that include: Pedro Dutra (Brazil), Thallison Alex (Brazil), Donja Smith (Tyler Junior College transfer), Logan Pippen (Northeast Jones High School), Kale Voge (Northeast Jones High School), and Devon Pitts (East Central CC transfer).

The 2016 season will officially start on August 25 as the MCC men will take on Holmes Community College in a home match at C.D. Smith Field beginning at 7 p.m. The MCC men will play its first regular season match on August 27 with a road trip to Delta State University at 4 p.m. The first home doubleheader for both teams will take place on August 31 against rival East Central Community College at 5 p.m.

The MCC soccer program will also host its annual Alumni Day on Saturday (August 20) at C.D. Smith Field beginning at 5 p.m. The 2016 MCC soccer teams will be introduced and that will be followed by the Alumni Day festivities.

For more information about MCC soccer contact head coach Mike Smith at 601-484-8857.

Monday

James Green Named New MCC Basketball Coach



From School Reports

James Green, a veteran of over 30 years of coaching experience including stints as the head coach of three NCAA Division I programs, has been named the new men’s basketball coach at Meridian Community College, according to MCC President Dr. Scott Elliott.
                
Green is replacing Cedric Drake, who has resigned his position at MCC to return to the high school coaching ranks in Alabama. Drake had a four-year tenure as Eagle coach.
               
“We appreciate all of Cedric’s contributions to the basketball program at MCC,” Elliott said, “but, at the same time, we are also elated to have attracted a coach of James Green’s impeccable credentials to our college. In fact, we’ve never had a coach with James’ breadth of experience in the program’s history, so we’re naturally excited about our prospects for success.”
              
Green served as head coach at the University of Southern Mississippi from 1996-2004, leading the Golden Eagles to the NIT Tournament twice and winning the Conference USA regular season title in 2001, when he was also named conference “Coach of the Year.” He went on to lead the Mississippi Valley State University program in 2005-2008, making the NCAA Tournament in 2008 while also winning the SWAC Tournament championship and yet another “Coach of the Year” award. From Valley, Green took the reins of the Jacksonville State University program from 2008-16, recording several firsts in the program’s history including wins over two Final Four teams.
                
In accepting the MCC helm, Green said he is “honored that Dr. Elliott and Sander Atkinson (Meridian athletic director) have provided me with this opportunity to be a part of the MCC family” and that he is “looking forward to coaching in one of the nation’s premier junior college conferences.”
                
“I feel like this completes my coaching career,” Green said, “in that I have already coached on the high school and major college levels. Now, I’m getting this great opportunity on the junior college level, and I am very much looking forward to the challenge. Obviously, I am well familiar with the MACJC Conference. I have recruited several players from the MACJC over the years and I believe I know the caliber of talent you’ve got to have to be competitive in the league. My expectation is that we will build a consistently competitive program at Meridian. I’ve been fortunate to accomplish that wherever I’ve coached, and there’s no reason we can’t do the same at MCC. It’s a fine college with an outstanding academic reputation, and it’s traditionally done well in athletics, too. My goal will be for our players to achieve both in the classroom and on the court and be positive ambassadors for the college in the community.”
               
Green’s path on the hardwood began as a standout player for Ingomar High School in New Albany, MS. From Ingomar, he signed with Ole Miss, helping the Rebels in the early 1980s win the SEC Tournament title and qualify for a national tournament appearance every year of his eligibility – three in the NIT and one in the NCAA.
                
His coaching career began at Jim Hill High School in Jackson in 1984, where he was named Metro “Coach of the Year.” He transitioned to the college ranks in 1988 as assistant coach at the University of Idaho, helping to twice lead the team to the NCAA Tournament and Big Sky Conference titles. His career continued to skyrocket as a major college assistant at Texas A&M, Alabama and Iowa State before Green landed the head job at Southern Miss. At Southern, Green posted 123 victories in an 8-year run.
                
“MCC has accomplished some good things in basketball over the years,” Elliott said. “We’ve won a Region 23 title and finished as high as 5th in the nation. We’ve had a couple of coaches who have achieved some very worthy career goals. Dennis Helms is now a member of the NJCAA Hall of Fame, and George Brooks has enjoyed a terrific run as a top assistant at Mississippi State. All that said, we’re still looking for our first MACJC state championship, and we feel that James Green is the guy who can get us there. His track record is replete with championships and national tournament appearances. We’re really excited to have him aboard.”
               
Green said his immediate focus will be to fill a couple or three important roster spots for the Eagles as well as working with Assistant Coach Jordan Payne to follow-up with all of the Eagles’ recruits and returnees for the 2016-17 season.
               
“I feel fortunate to have Jordan working with me,” Green said. “He is obviously familiar with the program as a former MCC player and assistant coach. Jordan gives us continuity in the program, and that’s important. I’m coming in late, so I’m not going to promise the moon right away. But I am going to pledge that we’re going to start building toward a strong program from Day 1.”

Thursday

MCC Golf Named Academic National Champions



From School Reports

The Meridian Community College golf team recently completed the 2016 spring season with another strong showing at the NJCAA National Tournament with an eighth place overall finish and now the Eagles are receiving more national recognition. MCC golf was named the NJCAA Division II Academic National Champions by the Golf Coaches Association of America. This marks the second straight season that the MCC golf program has been named the Academic National Champions by the GACC.

Valparaiso (Division I), USC Aiken (Division II), UT Dallas (Division III), Embry-Riddle Prescott (NAIA), Garden City (NJCAA DI) and Meridian (NJCAA DII) were all named Academic National Champions for their respective divisions.

For the second straight season, Embry-Riddle Prescott posted the highest overall team GPA for all divisions with a 3.787. A record 209 teams submitted GPAs of 3.00 or higher to earn All-Academic Team recognition.

In addition to its back-to-back overall Academic National Championship, Embry-Riddle Prescott claimed the NAIA title for the third time. Garden City and MCC led their divisions for the second consecutive season while Valparaiso, USC Aiken and UT Dallas each were first-time winners.

A total of 41 teams received President’s Special Recognition status for having team GPAs of 3.5 or better. The 41 teams to earn this distinction are the most since the Academic Team Awards program began in 2009.

To be eligible for GCAA All-Academic Team honors a college or university must submit the GPAs for each player on its official squad list for the academic year.