For the third straight year, McKenzie High School’s girls’ soccer team will be one of eight teams on the invitation list to the state soccer tournament at Murfreesboro.
The Lady Rebels defeated Crosstown 3-1 in Memphis during sub-state action on a misty Sunday afternoon. McKenzie’s girls fell behind 1-0 early, but rallied to claim the victory and punch their ticket to the ‘Boro.
McKenzie faces Adamsville at 7 p.m. today (Wednesday, Oct. 30) in the Class A state semifinals.
“They were a pretty good team, but we came from behind to win,” said McKenzie coach Karlene Brown regarding Crosstown. “It was just a good all-around effort today.”
Savannah Nesbitt scored a pair of goals during Sunday’s win, while Allie Chappell found the back of the net once. The Lady Rebels lost the services of Maggie Aird halfway through the first half, but Brown said the Lady Rebels persevered.
“Maggie hurt her ankle and didn’t play for the rest of the game,” Brown said. “Everybody else had to step up and they did.”
There was no running clock on display, so when the officials blew the whistle to signify the end of the game, the team wasn’t sure what happened.
“We didn’t know what was going on, but when we found out we won, the girls’ were pretty excited,” Brown said.
The coach said that a lot of players turned in good defensive efforts, including goalkeeper Gracie Dillingham. Anna Grace Spivey, Hannah Dillingham, Cassidy Brown and Sabrina Vasquez had good defensive days. Sydney Fornera and Haley Brasfield also played well, said the coach.
“We are definitely making strides. We have a stronger defense and we’re faster,” Brown said. “We have more options of players playing different places and being successful.”
Now McKenzie will set its sights on fellow West Tennessee participant Adamsville. Brown said she knows very little about the Lady Cardinals. They have a commom opponent in Scotts Hill. Adamsville defeated Scotts Hill 2-0 on Sept. 12 and again 5-0 on Sept. 26. McKenzie suffered a 2-0 loss to the Lady Lions on Sept. 24.
Brown said, in preparation for post-season competition, she scheduled some teams that resembled what McKenzie has faced at state in the past.
“We played teams who are faster at state, so we need to play faster,” she said.
As a result, the Lady Rebels are working on tempo, attacking the ball and being first.
Brown said her team is ready to take that next step.
“We’ve been knocking and the door is ready to be opened and we’re ready to knock it down.”