MaxPreps is pleased to announce that the Gulfport (Miss.)
Admirals have officially been named to the 13th Annual MaxPreps Soccer Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard, which is in its seventh year honoring soccer.
This is one of the most prestigious team awards in all of high school sports and it is an exclusive honor reserved for 100 of the top teams nationwide. In order to be eligible, a team must win a state championship and be highly ranked in the MaxPreps National Rankings. For soccer, only 20 of the country's best are invited and with nearly 34,000 competing varsity teams, this puts the Admirals ahead of 99.9 percent of their opponents!
In order to be eligible, the team not only had to be nationally ranked, but also had to win a state championship. Beating Madison Central 2-1 on Saturday, Feb. 17 in the MHSAA Class 6A
state championship contest marked the completion of an incredible 18-4-3 season — and earned Gulfport an invitation to the Tour of Champions.
Gulfport scored a quick goal in each half and then withstood plenty of second half pressure from Madison Central on it's way to claiming its second boys state soccer title. About three minutes into the game, Miguel Hernandez dribbled through traffic and booted a line drive into the net to open the championship game's scoring. Then, about three minutes into the second half, Lucas Ragula headed a free kick from Christopher Bruni for the game-winner.
Madison Central did score late in the first half, but couldn't find the goal again despite outshooting Gulfport 13-8 and holding a 10-0 edge in corner kicks. The Admirals allowed just two goals over the final 11 contests of the season – all Admiral wins. That streak began with a 2-0 win over Madison Central.
Sophomore goalkeeper Gannon Key made four saves while claiming the win for Gulfport. Both state finals programs had held their playoff opposition scoreless until the title game. Madison Central's late first half goal halted Gulfport's streak of seven straight shutouts, beginning with a 6-0 regular season win over Bay.
Gulfport opened postseason play with a 3-0 win over George County before kicking in the door to the Final Four with a 1-0 triumph over Brandon. The Admirals then bumped Oak Grove from state championship contention with a 2-0 semifinal victory to set up the championship bout with Madison Central. Gulfport struggled to a 1-2-2 start to the season, but then won five of its next six matches. Following a 1-1 (4-3) loss to Biloxi, the Admirals claimed victory in 12 of their final 13 matches, with the only blemish being a 1-1 draw with Jesuit. Henrik Madsen's club outscored its competition 64-17 on the season and posted 12 shutouts. Gulfport held 22 opponents to one goal or less.
Having won its final 11 matches of the season, Gulfport set itself up for some rather high rankings come season's end. Not only are the Admirals the third best team in MaxPreps' Mississippi Class 6A Rankings
, Gulfport is the No. 3 squad in all of Mississippi
. The Admirals are ranked No. 4 in MaxPreps' National Rankings
These incredible season achievements have earned the Gulfport Admirals an invitation to the 13th Annual Tour of Champions. Please join us at the baseball diamond as we celebrate with the boys soccer team, coaching staff, students and fans on Friday, Apr. 6 at 6:45 p.m. during pregame of the boys varsity baseball game.
For more information about the Tour of Champions, please visit the MaxPreps Tour of Champions site