FARRAGUT—Even in defeat, Oak Ridge High School girls soccer coach Jeff Trombly was upbeat.
“Obviously, we want to win, but this is a game that we’ve been looking forward to,” Trombly said after his Lady Wildcats dropped a 2-0 decision to Farragut Wednesday night at Farragut Soccer Stadium. “This was a good test for us.
“This game is always a good test for us because it shows us where we’re at. I think we held up pretty well. And hopefully, we we’ll see them again down the road.”
Oak Ridge, which was 6-3-1 after the game, fell behind early when Lady Admirals junior Amy Cloud scored in the second minute of the non-district match.
Farragut, which was then 6-5, was dominant in the opening half, and the Lady Wildcats struggled to gain possession and sustain any pressure in their offensive third of the field.
Oak Ridge scarcely crossed the midfield stripe during the opening 40 minutes. The Lady Wildcats did manage one shot on goal in the first half.
The Lady Admirals, meanwhile, fired seven shots on goal, and ORHS junior goalkeeper Laura Snyder made six first-half saves after Farragut scored on its initial opportunity of the match.
“Laura did a great job for us,” Trombly said. “She’s a great athlete.”
The Lady Admirals, who notched a 9-0 victory at William Blount a week ago on Tuesday in a game that was called after halftime due to the new mercy rule, took a 2-0 lead when Eryn Hill tallied in the 70th minute.
Hill had an opportunity to score late in the first half, but her point-blank shot was stopped by Snyder with 41 seconds remaining until halftime.
Snyder had another stellar save in the 33rd minute of the game when she deflected a shot by Farragut’s Skylor Keane off the crossbar.
Farragut first-year head coach Drew Payne said he was impressed by Snyder’s effort between the goalposts.
“Their keeper did a great job, and there’s no doubt about it,” Payne said. “But I think we settled for some shots. We took some shots from 20 or 30 yards out, when we really could’ve combined and got some better shots from closer in.”
Farragut, which got off to an 0-5 start, has now won seven consecutive (including at Grace Christian on Saturday), and Payne said that his team continues to improve.
“I thought we settled (offensively),” he said. “But in the middle third of the field and in the defensive third of the field, we possessed the ball pretty well. We controlled the ball pretty well.
“It was just a lot better than it has been. It wasn’t chaotic like it was last week.”
The Lady Wildcats, who struggled to generate any offense early, came alive after halftime. Oak Ridge did manage three shots on goal, but Farragut goalkeeper Elizabeth Everling made three big saves.
The Lady Wildcats had their best scoring chance when Katelyn Mattus, a freshman, fired a shot that was stopped by Everling.
Trombly said that Oak Ridge’s youth was a factor in the match.
“We have a very, very young team, and we’re still trying to figure some things out,” he said. “We have 12 freshmen and seven sophomores.
“That’s what we’re dealing with.”
Oak Ridge was without one of its top scorers against the Lady Admirals. Sophomore Katie O’Brien was out with a leg injury, but Trombly said that he expects her to return sometime this week.
Like Farragut, Oak Ridge was playing for the second consecutive night. The Lady Wildcats beat West High 2-0 on Tuesday.
Ken Lay is a freelance contributor to Oak Ridge Today.
Editor’s note: After the Farragut game on Wednesday, Oak Ridge, which is now 8-4-1, played in the Smoky Mountain Cup in Gatlinburg this past weekend. The Lady Wildcats beat McMinn County 4-0 on Friday. They lost 8-1 to Lexington Christian of Kentucky on Saturday morning before defeating Bishop Brossart of Kentucky 3-1 late Saturday afternoon.
Senior Zoe Van Hook and freshman Alyssa Tittsworth had first-half goals against McMinn County, while junior Kelsie Giannelli and freshman Katelyn Mattus each added a second-half goal, according to the Lady Wildcats.
Van Hook scored the lone goal for Oak Ridge against Lexington Christian.
Van Hook and Mattus scored again against Bishop Brossart, and sophomore Jennie Pont Briant had a goal as well.
Oak Ridge has its final two district games this week. The first is at Karns at 6 p.m. today (Tuesday, September 19). The second is at Powell at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Oak Ridge and Powell have been the top two teams in the district the past few seasons, although the district changed under the 2017-2018 state classification. The Lady Wildcats and Lady Panthers are currently both 2-0 in the district (District 3-AAA).
The Lady Wildcats will end their season at home with games against Hardin Valley at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 28, and Bearden on Tuesday, October 3.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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