Note: This story was updated at 5:45 p.m. Oct. 15.
POWELL—Oak Ridge upset Powell 2-0 to win the District 3-AAA championship on Friday.
It was an especially satisfying victory for the Lady Wildcats after losing the district championship to the Lady Panthers last year. Powell won that one in a penalty kick shootout after two 10-minute overtimes and two five-minute sudden death overtimes. It was believed to be the first-ever district soccer title for the Lady Panthers.
The Lady Panthers also won the last two regular-season games 4-1 (one this year and one last year), and Oak Ridge last beat Powell in 2013. Powell (12-3-1) was the number one seed in the district tournament this year, and Oak Ridge (12-6-1) was number two.
“Our entire team was focused on winning, and we wouldn’t accept anything else,” said Lady Wildcats senior Olivia Hoyt, who played midfielder Friday. “It was kind of a grudge match.”
Oak Ridge scored first on a corner kick by freshman Katie O’Brien 16 minutes into the first half.
“That really pumped up the team,” O’Brien said. “It was more determined to make sure they (Powell) didn’t score.”
Senior Leah Scudder scored Oak Ridge’s second goal 17 minutes into the second half. Scudder said the ball was played through to her, and she ran behind the defense and shot the ball up into the net.
“We came to this game with a different mentality,” Scudder said. That was especially true of the seniors, who haven’t defeated Powell since their freshman year.
“Once that score turned 1-0,” after O’Brien’s goal, Scudder said, “there was no turning back.”
Oak Ridge sophomore goalkeeper Laura Snyder had 19 saves.
“It was definitely a battle,” Snyder said. “Coach had us prepare for it, and it was a well-fought game.”
The Lady Panthers stepped up the offensive pressure in the second half, and the Lady Wildcats had to protect their goal, Snyder said.
She said there were times she felt nervous, but the defense had her back.
“We were up, and they had to score to beat us,” Snyder said.
Oak Ridge Coach Jeff Trombly cited the play of Scudder, Hoyt, Snyder, and senior Lindsey Riikola as highlights of the game.
“It’s all a mental game,” Riikola said. “We just had more heart.”
Trombly taught the team to keep the ball in front of them so Powell didn’t have an opportunity to pass, Riikola said.
The Lady Wildcats practiced and practiced defense, she said.
It paid off, and the win felt great, Riikola said.
“I have no words,” she said.
Trombly said the game plan had been to get a little more physical against Powell, which has been described as a physical team, and the game plan worked.
He praised Oak Ridge’s defensive effort. The Lady Wildcats played without sophomore Kate Hausladen on offense, and the team shuffled formations. Hoyt played midfield, Ashlynn Riikola played up front again, and Maddie Peters played outside midfielder.
Once Oak Ridge got the lead in the second half, Trombly said, the team let Powell have the ball and played defense.
Oak Ridge will play Farragut, the District 4-AAA runner-up, at home in a Region 2-AAA semifinal at Oak Ridge High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Farragut lost to Maryville 2-0 in the District 4 championship on Thursday.
Farragut (11-4-5) beat Oak Ridge 3-2 during the regular season on September 19.
Powell, the District 3 runner-up, will play at Maryville, the District 4 champion, in the other Region 2 semifinal on Tuesday. Maryville (17-2-1) beat Powell 3-0 in the first regular-season game on August 16.
Oak Ridge last won the District 3 championship in a 1-0 victory against Powell in 2013.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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