Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Austin High’s Rebekah Roberts (5) dribbles past Brewer’s Jordyn Page in soccer action Friday in Decatur.
Austin girls to meet Decatur in finals
By Bradley Handwerger
The ball floated through the air for what seemed like forever, hanging up long enough to bounce about eight yards short of the mouth of the goal.
When it finally came down, it bounced just over the fingertips of Brewer goalkeeper Patti Thomas and bounded into the goal.
Richie Simon called it an Austin bounce. No matter what the Austin girls soccer coach wants to call it, he’ll take it.
And so will Leslie Kirk, who first touched the ball, shooting it from 35 yards out in the 22nd minute.
Austin beat Brewer 3-0, clinching a spot opposite Decatur in the Morgan County Soccer Tournament finals Monday 5:30 p.m. at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex.
The championship round of the tournament originally was scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m., but poor weather caused tournament officials to rethink that.
“It’s too dangerous,” said Brian Quarles, Decatur boys coach and of the officials. “If there is lightning, we don’t have anywhere to put people.”
None of that mattered to Austin, which needed only to win or tie to move into the finals, on Friday. Austin will face Decatur for the third time this season, and second time this tournament. The Lady Red Raiders won both previous contests, 2-0 on April 3 and 1-0 Thursday.
“Two pretty close, tough games,” Simon said. “It’ll most likely be another tough match.”
But that’s Monday.
On Friday, good fortune was on Austin’s side.
Against Decatur in the tournament, the Lady Black Bears (11-11) lost when a ball bounced over goalkeeper Stephanie White’s head.
Against Brewer (7-5-2), Austin benefited from the fortuitous bounce.
“Everybody on the bench grinned,” Simon said. “They knew how (Thomas) felt.”
Up until that point, Thomas had stymied every Austin attack.
She finished the game with 13 saves, including several tremendous ones where she dove to her right or left, stopping close-range shots with her body parallel to the ground.
Thomas had to do everything she could, as Brewer bunkered down for a defensive battle. Austin popped off 22 shots in the match.
“We just didn’t play our game,” Brewer head coach Sandra Sowder said. “We played too much boot ball.”
With Brewer on the defensive, Austin struck again midway through the second half. Jennifer Zellner turned with the ball, aimed and fired from 20 yards out, sending the ball knuckling to the right of Thomas and into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Eleven minutes later, Austin added to its lead. Anna Zellner lofted a ball high in the sky. After cresting its arc, it came down behind Thomas and over the goal line, into the net.
“Their team was very skilled and could pass it around us,” Sowder said.
Simon figured his team would play pretty well early in the day, he said.
“They were pretty loose today in class,” he said. “They played well.”
Morgan County soccer
Results of the Morgan County soccer tournament at Jack Allen Recreation Complex in Decatur on Friday.
Decatur boys 1, Hartselle 1
Decatur girls 7, West Morgan 0
Hartselle girls 3, Priceville 1
Brewer boys 6, West Morgan 0
Austin girls 3, Brewer 0
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