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Northwest Rankin claims MHSAA 7A Girls Soccer State Championship with 2-1 win over Clinton

The Cougars wrestled the title back from the defending champion Clinton Arrows in thrilling fashion

RIDGELAND, Miss. — The Northwest Rankin Lady Cougars are back on top of the Mississippi soccer world.

It took some late game-heroics from senior Allie Sifford and junior Kate Gray Nesbit, but the Lady Cougars held on for a 2-1 win over the defending champion Clinton Arrows to clinch the 2024 MHSAA 7A soccer title Saturday night.

After a scoreless first half, Sifford broke the 0-0 tie with a goal from 18 yards out in the 65th minute. Tyler Grace Sims launched a perfect lob pass, and Sifford touched it once with her left foot past a diving Clinton keeper.

The second goal came just five minutes later. Sidneyclare Sing raced down the home sideline and sent a beautiful pass into the middle, just quick enough for Nesbit to squeeze off a shot between two Clinton defenders.

That goal sent the Northwest Rankin sideline into pandemonium with just 10 minutes left on the clock.

The celebration was short-lived, however, as Clinton’s Isabella Jones scorched home a goal moments later to trim the Northwest Rankin lead to 21.

But the Lady Cougars (25-1-1) held on from there, and ended the night hoisting a golden ball trophy for the second time in three years.

“This one is right up there (with our other championships),” Northwest Rankin coach Carli Little said. “We had a lot of adversity, a lot of major injuries, so it’s special. This team has really come together. They are such a family, and it just means more when you are playing for your sisters out there.”

Sifford earned MVP honors. She was one of five seniors who helped the Cougars win a championship two years ago and finished their high school career Saturday with a second.

“I told everyone we needed to believe,” Sifford said. “I knew we could get that first goal and break that barrier. We were fighting and fighting, and once we got that goal we felt like we were going to win.”

Clinton finished the season 15-5-2.

Northwest Rankin wins 2024 7A girls soccer state title

The Northwest Rankin Cougars clinched the 2024 MHSAA Class 7A Girls Soccer Championship with a 2-1 win over Clinton on Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Lee Boozer Athletics Complex at Ridgeland High School.