Harrelson’s MVP effort propels South girls to victory

Enterprise’s Morgan Harrelson (right) holds her MVP trophy alongside Devin Booth, a representative from the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association.

An MVP effort from Enterprise’s Morgan Harrelson gave the South squad a 3-1 victory over the North on Wednesday night at Emory Folmar Soccer Complex in Montgomery.

It was the South’s first win in a decade and brings the overall series record to 15-3-1 in favor of the North All-Stars.

Harrelson scored two goals -- one in each half -- to earn MVP honors. Her goals came at 35:49 and 53:11 with the last giving the South squad a 3-0 lead.

She had a total of five shots on goal, according to South All-Stars and Enterprise High School coach Jill Harrelson, who is also Morgan’s mom.

“Two hit the cross bar,” said Harrelson. “She could have easily ended up with four goals, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Of course -- as a coach and a mom -- a lot of times when you coach your own child, you’re definitely harder on them just because you don’t want to show favoritism, but it was very exciting to see her perform so well. She was on her game Wednesday.”

The younger Harrelson said it felt great to win MVP honors and play alongside some of the most talented players in the state.

“I think the experience is going to help me as a player (going into my senior season),” Harrelson said. “I thought I did pretty good for not being on the ball very often, and I thought we played well as a team. The first half, (North’s) defense was really strong. They could read the ball well and their keeper was pretty good, for sure.”

Another Enterprise player, Jillian Martin, also represented the Wildcats during the game. Her coach said Martin came off the field “maybe four minutes” of the full 80-minute game in the summer heat.

“She’s in great shape, and had some steals and takeaways on the backline,” Harrelson said. “I was very confident with her being there because I knew what she could do.”

In fact, Harrelson was immediately confident with a few players on the South squad.

“I knew (Kathleen Wakefield) from Northview,” Harrelson said. “I knew she was a solid player and knew where I could put her. I also knew if our goalkeeper was from McGill-Toolen she would be good, and really both of our goalkeepers were great.”

Overall, the biggest challenge was coming together as a unit with only one two-hour practice to prepare.

“You have one practice to put these girls together and, even though they are very talented, soccer is a team sport,” Harrelson said. “You want to know what your teammates are doing out there. We did a bit of brainstorming and tried to do some drills where the girls could at least work on movement and communication. You also only have two days to learn all your teammates’ names, and that’s a bit of a challenge. I told the girls to point or use jersey numbers if they needed to. Whatever you need to do for effective communication. That’s the most important thing.”

North 3, South 0

The south squad did not fare as well in the North-South Boys’ All-Star Soccer game on Wednesday night.

The victory improved the North’s overall series record to 12-4-1.

The South had 15 shot attempts, including seven corner kicks. North goalkeeper Jackson Driver of Sipsey Valley had six saves in the first half, and the North defense did not allow a shot on goal in the second half.

Enterprise’s Sam Mazariegos represented the Wildcats on the South squad.

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