HOUND DOGS KEEP PLAYOFF HOPE ALIVE
By Todd Vinyard
If the Tupelo Hound Dogs fail to make the Eastern Indoor Soccer League playoffs, it will truly be a shame. Because as their 27-14 whipping of Tallahassee Thursday showed they are probably the best team in the league.
Tupelo, 11-11, has won seven games in a row. They began the night three points behind Huntsville for the final league playoff spot. Four teams qualify for the EISL playoffs. Huntsville plays Columbus tonight and then hosts Tupelo Saturday in the final game of the regular season.
First, Tupelo meets the Savannah, Ga., RugRatz at 7:30 p.m. today in the Hound Dogs' final home game of the regular season.
The announced 977 fans at the Tupelo Coliseum Thursday saw Tupelo outscore Tallahassee 14-2 in the first two periods after falling behind 2-0 to start the game.
Tallahassee head coach Doug Mello had a previous commitment at the college he coaches in Iowa, so assistant Rick Barnhill filled in.
"They (Tupelo) hustle and play hard," said Barnhill, whose team falls to 14-9, but is already in the playoffs. "We thought they were a good team before this, but now they may the best team in our league."
Tupelo head coach Jimmy Graham knew his team had the potential all season.
"We fear no one," Graham said. "I told the lads all along we were a good team. We have played better this year than we did tonight and lost. It is just the way things go."
Tallahassee was short handed in the beginning of both the second and third periods and Tupelo made them pay with goals.
Dominic Dickerson and Atanas Arsov scored three-point goals less than a minute into the final period for a commanding 20-4 lead.
Defender James LaBar started the scoring spree with a goal at the nine minute, five second mark to tie things, 2-2. It was LaBar's second two-point goal of the season.
Tupelo went ahead for good when Rob Fenton sent a ricochet shot into the net at 7:46 for a 4-2 advantage.
"The ball has just been bouncing our way," Fenton said.
Arsov scored the Hound Dogs final goal of the first period for Tupelo.
Tallahassee scored first 48 seconds into the match as Vinny Darnell followed his shot to find the back of net for a 2-0 Scorpion lead.
Tupelo was led in scoring by Brad Snyder with three goals. Hound Dogs goalkeeper Doug Seigle held Tallahassee to three goals before being substituted for with six minutes left.
The only down side for the Hound Dogs happened when team captain Dave Schall had to leave the game with an injured foot and didn't return.