HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The South Jones girls soccer team is headed to the South State title after their 2-0 win over Long Beach on Friday.
After winning back to back district titles, the Lady Braves are hoping to advance to their second state championship in school history when they line up against West Harrison on Tuesday night.
Five current South Jones players were on the first-ever South State Championship team in 2013.
"We lost," said South Jones senior Jennifer Hodges, an eighth-grader on the 2013 team. "I think it was 2-0 and it was really devastating to see the senior girls lose their senior year. I think that's a good motivation for everyone to know the feeling to get there and not win."
"I told some of the girls that they're playing for their team, they're playing for themselves and each other," said South Jones soccer coach Matt Smith. "I think it's the teams that stay together and don't get rattled, play more relaxed like they've been there a little bit. This game could be decided by one goal."
West Jones boys soccer seeks to make history as well on Tuesday night.
The Mustangs battle West Harrison at 7:30 in their third South State title game in school history.
After beating Long Beach 1-0, West Jones now has a chance to advance to the program's first state championship.
"It means so much," said West Jones senior forward Jacob Gieger. "Some people just don't understand the magnitude of getting to the state championship and how hard it is. To be able to do it my senior year would be great."
"I think you have to come in with the mindset: it's just another game," said West Jones boys soccer coach Joshua Sullivan. "Even though it has a different title than regular season or district or playoff, you have to show up with your mind wrapped around the idea: 'If I do my job and my team does their job, at the end of the day we're going to be satisfied whether we win or lose."
Meanwhile, Sacred Heart soccer is right back in familiar territory.
The Crusaders visit St. Patrick on Tuesday seeking their seventh South State Title under head coach Joe Falla.
The Lady Crusaders defend their 2016 South State title when they host Madison St. Joseph on Wednesday night.
Under fourth-year head coach Joe "Poppa" Falla Sr., the Sacred Heart girls have won three state championships, most recently in 2016.
"We've been working hard since September, conditioning," said Falla Sr. "I emphasized to be a champion you have to work hard. It's not about one individual but for the whole team. The leadership that some of my players bring in, that's what it takes to be a winner. You have to have the unity and the type of guys that want to be leaders and fight for what we believe in."
MHSAA South State Soccer Schedule:
5A Girls - South Jones at West Harrison (Tuesday 5:30)
1A/2A/3A Boys - Sacred Heart at St. Patrick (Tuesday 6:00)
5A Boys - West Jones at West Harrison (Tuesday 7:30)
1A/2A/3A Girls - Madison St. Joseph at Sacred Heart (Wednesday 6:00)