Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.|
John Carroll’s Jackie Habrat, left, struggles to catch Mary Jo Campbell of Athens in the Class 5A state semifinals in Huntsville on Friday. John Carroll won 3-0 and will play defending champion Briarwood on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Despite loss, Athens upbeat about future
By Josh Cooper
HUNTSVILLE — Even after a 3-0 loss in the Class 5A girls state soccer semifinals to John Carroll, Athens High’s players didn’t appear too distraught.
Instead of disappointment, there seemed a sense of hope on the girls’ faces. And with a team that started eight freshmen, Athens (12-7-2) already is looking to next year as a chance to get back to the state championship.
“I expect to make it at least as far (next season),” Athens coach Gil Dobbs said. “If we build from this, next year will be much better.”
As for the finale of the 2007 season, Dobbs described his team’s performance as “mediocre.”
The Lady Golden Eagles had few scoring chances, and relied heavily on their goalkeeper to make several saves.
Overall, the Lady Cavaliers (20-8) took 14 shots on goal, prompting Athens goalkeeper Lauren Polk to make five saves.
In the first half, with the wind at its back, Athens took two shots on goal.
Part of that was because John Carroll was pushing the issue. The Lady Cavaliers were called for offside several times, which showed their aggressive, attacking strategy.
John Carroll striker Melissa Reid struck first when she ran through most of the defense to kick the ball into the net in the 10th minute.
Reid scored again in the 32nd minute to make it 2-0.
Despite the Lady Cavaliers’ dominance, Athens still had a chance for much of the game, mostly because of Polk.
The junior showed up five minutes before the game fresh from her advanced placement United States history exam. While she said she felt shaky at first, she kept her team in the game for most of the second half.
John Carroll took a few long-range shots, but Polk was up to task.
There were also several situations when the Lady Cavaliers had the ball around the Athens goal, but Polk was there to smother the scoring opportunity.
Still, the 5-foot-4 Polk could not stop a long shot by Lauren Gallas, which tucked underneath the cross bar for a goal to push the score to a backbreaking 3-0.
Despite the loss, Athens is optimistic about next year.
“We have a lot of room to grow with all our freshmen,” Polk said. “We can definitely go to the state championships again.”
Save $84.50 a year off our newsstand price:
Subscribe today for only 38 cents a day!