CLASS AAA SECTIONAL
SODDY-DAISY 2, OAKLAND 1
Halftime score: 0-0. Goals: Miranda Smith, Hannah Wyatt (SD); Layna Rich (O). Assists: Summer Lanter, Natalie Smith (SD); Taylor McKinnley (O). Shots: Soddy-Daisy, 23-8. Saves: Katie Collins 10 (O); Haley Myers 3 (SD). Records: Soddy-Daisy 18-2-2; Oakland 15-5-1.
After years of sustained success, the Soddy-Daisy girls' soccer team's fan base has become educated as to what constitutes a good play. So when the Lady Trojans' Kellie Hillis cleared a ball toward the flag in the final moments Saturday evening, everyone knew how important that was, considering the situation.
Miranda Smith and Hannah Wyatt had goals, with the latter's header in the 73rd minute providing the difference, as Soddy-Daisy advanced to its second consecutive Class AAA state tournament with a 2-1 victory over Oakland.
In a match they primarily dominated, the Lady Trojans (18-2-2) fired 23 shots from a variety of angles. Oakland keeper Katie Collins found herself busy, saving a total of 10 shots, including a few miraculous stops.
"We would have three shots to their one," Soddy-Daisy coach Moises Drumond said. "As a coach, you just have to keep encouraging the girls and telling them that it's going to come.
"We had chances in the first half, but our forwards weren't combining passes. In the second half, they started working together and got some one-twos, which we needed to do because they were keying so much energy on Summer Lanter."
Lanter was blanketed at the match's start by senior defender Erica Smith.
After a scoreless first half, both teams scored within the first four minutes of the second half. Lanter fed Smith, who nailed a shot from about 10 feet away. Oakland scored two minutes later when Taylor McKinnley got the ball to Layna Rich, who turned in front of the goal and fired a shot past Haley Myers.
Wyatt got the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute, heading the ball low and past the outstretched hands of Collins. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga commitment previously had a breakaway attempt that she shot wide.
"Hannah's a player who works her tail off," Drumond said. "Some players go through slumps in their goal-scoring; they get an opportunity and hit it too soon, or fail to get their hips square. Her work rate has been there, though."
After advancing to the 2010 state tournament, the Lady Patriots fell just short of a repeat trip.
"Soddy-Daisy is a tough team to play," Oakland coach Jeff Boynton said. "They have athletes, and I don't think we were able to play our style of play, but we did play hard. They scored and we didn't get our heads down; we came right back."