SODDY-DAISY — The District 5-AAA championship match went much as expected Thursday, a cautious defensive clash until an opening became available.
Soddy-Daisy, the state’s third-ranked high school girls soccer team defeated Cleveland’s Lady Raiders, 2-0, to capture the 2010 district title. The Lady Raiders have played the Lady Trojans twice this year and have yet to score a goal.
Both teams advance to Tuesday’s first round of the Region 3-AAA tournament. Cleveland will travel to play District 6-AAA champion Cookeville, while Soddy-Daisy will stay at home to play 6-AAA runner-up Warren County.
Tuesday’s winners will move on to the Region 3 championship match on Thursday, to be played on the home field of the highest seed.
Coach Andy Byrd and his Lady Raiders will be shooting for a third match this season against the Lady Trojans. To do that, they will have to win on the road Tuesday.
Cleveland (12-7-2) traveled to Cookeville in midseason and took a 3-0 decision from Cookeville’s Lady Cavaliers.
Soddy-Daisy remains undefeated at 18-0-2 and is ranked No. 3 behind No. 1 Germantown and No. 2 Knoxville Bearden.
Coach Byrd was disappointed by the loss Thursday night, but told his girls he was not disappointed by the way they played. “We just have to get sharper on offense,” he said, repeating comments he made following a 2-0 win over McMinn County on Tuesday.
“This is nothing to hang your heads about,” Byrd told his team after the game. “We’ll get them in the next half,” he added, referring to the possibility of returning to Soddy-Daisy next Thursday in the Region 3 final.
The Lady Raiders’ coach gave credit where credit was due. “Coach (Moise) Drummonds has built a great team and they played well,” he said. “The two little girls they have up front are great.”
Thursday’s title match was pretty much a defensive standoff. The Lady Trojans took advantage of a couple of scoring opportunities, but Cleveland didn’t.
The Lady Raiders had a number of girls who played well, especially on defense. Alison Simpson, Bayleigh Ellis, McKenziie Harris, Kaitlyn Poulakis, Katelyn McChesney, Megan Barker and Devon Vaughn kept the Lady Trojans in check through most of the match.
The Lady Raiders missed a couple of scoring chances early and Soddy-Daisy grabbed a 1-0 lead reaching the midway point of the first half. The goal came off a corner kick, with standout Hannah Wyatt putting a header into the net.
The two teams traveled up and down the field through the remainder of the first half without additional scoring.
The Lady Raiders took the fight to the Lady Trojans at the start of the second half. Over the first 10 minutes almost all of the action was on the Soddy-Daisy end of the field. Despite this flurry of opportunities, with crossing set-ups in front of the goal Cleveland failed to score.
Soddy-Daisy goalie Ally Fein caught several scoring attempts during this stretch. “If you kick it to her, she’ll catch it,” said Byrd after the game.
The Lady Trojans hit another goal at the midway point of the second half. Wyatt connected on her second goal with an assist from Summer Lanter.
Soddy-Daisy played tough defense over the final 20 minutes of the match, registering its second shutout over the Lady Raiders this season. The Lady Trojans had beaten Cleveland at the Greater Cleveland Soccer Complex in midseason, 1-0.
- At the conclusion of Thursday’s match, plaques were presented to the first- and second-place teams, and the 2010 All-District Team was announced.
Cleveland senior Katelyn McChesney was named the Best Defensive Player of the Year, Lanter of Soddy-Daisy is the Best Offensive Player of the Year, and Taylor Wagner of McMinn County the Best Midfielder of the Year.
Other All-District selections include goalkeeper Simpson, Poulakis and Jenna Stewart of Cleveland; Wyatt, Natalie Smith and Dakota Johnson of Soddy-Daisy; Amy Grace Stokes of Walker Valley; Alexia Hubbard of Bradley Central; Mollie Meneley and Lisa Swearingen of Ooltewah; Haley Ward and Sarah Dillon of McMinn County; and Alley Fisk of Rhea County.