It wasn’t a loss, but it wasn’t the ending Walker Valley girls soccer coach Nathan Brown was looking for.
The Lady Mustangs came back from a 1-0 first half deficit to score two goals in the second half, but could not hold off the Chattanooga Patriots, who scored a tying goal with just minutes left in the game to force Walker Valley to settle for a 2-2 tie.
“We showed some character with a goal down and came back to score two goals, which was I was very, very happy about. But it’s a tough one for us,” said a disappointed Brown about the draw. “If you listen to the Patriots, they are very happy and we are going away very sad. We felt like we let one slip today.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Abby Sanders came through with a brilliant recovery, stopping a Patriots shot just before the ball crossed the goal line very early in the match.
The Patriots came back in the ninth minute slipping one just under Sanders for the only goal of the first half.
Though the Lady Mustangs showed a more aggressive attitude than in past seasons, they were unable to match the Patriots and went into the half down 1-0.
“We’re trying to possess the ball a little bit more then get the ball to our forwards in play,” said Brown.
“We are definitely more aggressive. That’s one part of the game we have definitely worked on. But we’ve still got a lot to do.”
Freshman forward Taylor Ellis took control in the 51st minute, firing in the first of her two goals on the afternoon to tie the score at 1-1.
Ellis put the Lady Mustangs on top in the 71st minute with another blast into the nylons that gave Walker Valley a 2-1 lead.
Just two minutes later, the Patriots fired back with a shot that tied the game 2-2.
Walker Valley worked hard in the final minutes to break the deadlock but time ran out with the game knotted at two goals apiece.
“I think we just let down. We thought we were going to win the game without seeing it out. We’ve got to learn. This is definitely a learning opportunity for us. If we are going to play these kinds of games, we’ve got to finish. We’ve got to put the game to bed,” Brown said.
“I was proud of a lot of things we executed. But at the same time it’s still a pretty tough one, because I felt like that’s a game we should have won.”