The third-ranked Lady Trojans (20-0-2) shut out the Lady Raiders for the third time this season to win the 2010 3-AAA title. But, the 1-0 loss does not end the season for the Cleveland team.
The Lady Raiders (13-8-2) will travel to Murfreesboro Saturday for a sectional game against Oakland High School. The 12-6-1 Lady Patriots defeated the Siegel Lady Stars 2-1 Thirsday night.
Thursday’s 3-AAA title game was a tough one for the Lady Raiders, coming off a late-night, multiple overtime victory at Cookeville Wednesday.
Soddy-Daisy coach Moise Drummond said he expected the Cleveland team to come in with tired legs after the late game, but that didn’t happen. “They played very well,” the Lady Trojans’ coach said, emphasizing that Cleveland pushed his team to the end.
“I was very impressed with their legs, after the game they had yesterday,” said Drummond.
Coach Andy Byrd admitted his team was suffering somewhat from fatigue, but agreed it played a good match despite suffering a third straight defeat at the hands of the Lady Trojans.
Drummond said it’s the little things that win matches. “We set up pieces and act off those pieces,” he said of his team’s offense. “It was one of those pieces that won for us tonight.”
“Our girls played hard, but we just couldn’t get the win,” Byrd said in praising his team’s performance. He said Soddy-Daisy took advantage of its opportunities, as it has in other matches with the Lady Raiders this season.
Soddy-Daisy beat Cleveland at the Greater Cleveland Soccer Complex in midseason, 1-0, followed with a 2-0 decision in the District 5-AAA final last week, and then posted Thursday’s 1-0 win.
Byrd said it is no consolation his defense has limited the state’s third-ranked soccer team to just four goals in three matches. He said this accomplishment doesn’t offset the disappointment of the losses.
The Lady Raiders were visibly sluggish at the start of Thursday’s championship match ... but the intensity picked up as the match progressed. Near the end of the second half, with the clock winding down on another loss, Cleveland displayed as much intensity as it has all year.
The Lady Raiders continued to pressure the Soddy-Daisy goal, but couldn’t get the ball in the net for a tying score. With the continued Cleveland pressure, the Lady Trojans focused on protecting their goal.
Cleveland’s best chance of scoring a goal came at the 5:30 mark when senior captain Katelyn McChesney got the ball in front of the goal off a corner kick from McKenzie Harris. She was swarmed by the Soddy-Daisy defense and couldn’t put the ball in the net to duplicate the Lady Trojans’ first-half goal.
Thursday’s championship match began with deliberate play on both sides. There was little energy in either attack at the offset, and it appeared the first 40 minutes might be a scoreless standoff.
But, Soddy-Daisy struck suddenly. Dakota Johnson, who was celebrating her birthday, took a corner kick from team-leader Hannah Wyatt with just over two minutes remaining in the first half. Her header found the net for a 1-0 advantage for the home team. It proved to be enough.
The one-goal lead put the Lady Trojans in a protective mode through much of the second half. With less than 10 minutes to play, Cleveland pulled out all stops with the offense pushing on Soddy-Daisy’s end of the field.
Despite this offensive pressure by the Lady Raiders, a tying goal did not come.
Cleveland goalkeeper Alison Simpson played another steady match, allowing only the one goal. McChesney had a standout game for the Lady Raiders, along with Leanne Indovino, Kaitlyn Poulakis, Devon Vaughn, Bayleigh Ellis, McKenzie Harris, Megan Barker and Jenna Stewart.
The Cleveland offense just couldn’t get the ball in the net against the defense-minded Lady Trojans.
Wyatt was once again the team leader for the Lady Trojans, setting up Johnson for a game-winning goal.
The two teams could face off one last time this season ... but it would have to be in a state championship match. There are only 16 teams remaining in the playoffs, two survivors from each of the state’s eight regions.
The elimination process continues Saturday. “From here on out it will be one- or two-goal matches, with the loser going home,” said coach Drummond.