NEW MARKET — The four-year run of sectional championships for Southmont girls soccer came to an end Tuesday on the home field with a 3-0 first-round loss to Cascade.
The Mounties season finishes at the hands of the Cadets, whose season ended at the hands of South last year in a penalty-kick sectional final.
South’s season concludes at 8-5-1, while Cascade heads into the sectional semifinals with a 9-6-1 mark.
“We came out and played our game,” Mounties assistant coach Rachel Welliever said. “We played our aggressive style, the same as we have played all season long. Things just didn’t work out tonight, and credit Cascade for a good game.”
Welliever was filling in for head coach Phil Keller, who was quarantined due to Covid. No South players were missing.
Also not missing was anyone from Cascade, who avenged two losses to Southmont, a 1-0 loss two weeks ago, and the loss in last year’s championship match.
“Southmont is who we wanted in the first game,” Cascade senior Maddie Walker said. “We were all together for the draw, and when we saw it was Southmont, we all just yelled.”
“We all have our strengths and weaknesses, but that’s what makes us a good team,” fellow senior Sydney Gabbard said. “We do things together, and that’s what makes us better, but we sure wanted to play Southmont.”
“We lost to them (Southmont) last year in the sectionals and earlier this season,” senior forward Kaylin Cook said. “We also had all our players back and we knew we just had to bring our intensity.”
Cook scored the first Cascade goal, coming at the 9:12 mark of the first half, on an assist from sophomore striker Creedance Chittenden.
Chittenden, the Cadets leading scorer, was missing from the match earlier this season, and she scored the back-breaking goal with :05.3 left in the first half, on a pass from Cook.
“Southmont is a really, really good team,” Cascade coach Jeff Franklin said. “Coach Keller does such a good job, but we thought this was a good matchup for us, especially since we had everyone back and ready. We had been missing players due to concussions and Covid nearly all season, and we had that full roster tonight. We got a couple breaks, we played hard, and got the win.”
One of those breaks came with 23 minutes left in the first half, when a Southmont goal was waved off on a hand-pass call. The goal by Elle Gray, after a corner kick by Hanna Nichols, was not allowed, and that was in reality the last good shot the Mounties had.
“We did adjust some to Chittenden playing,” Welliever noted. “We might not have adjusted early enough. With both her and Cook in, they had two strong sets of legs.”
The Cadets kept nearly all of the second half in the South zone, keeping the pressure on and keeping South’s offense from generating anything.
The final Cascade goal came with 14:10 left in the match, when Laura Cameron pushed a penalty kick just past the outstretched hands of South goal keeper Belle Miller.
Miller, one of five Mounties seniors who lost their first sectional match ever, was peppered regularly, and she stopped 13 of the 16 shots she faced. South put seven shots on Cadets goal keeper Gabby Walker, who registered her fifth clean sheet of the season.
Also finishing soccer careers at South are Jordan Stanley, Nichols, Justine Troutman and Madison Chadwick.
“These five seniors have been an integral part of this program’s success for their entire careers,” Welliever said. “Three were captains this year, and all are very good leaders. We are all intensely proud of how they, and our entire team, represented our school and our program. They are great individuals as well, and they will be so successful in their lives. We thank them, and we wish them so much good fortune.”
The Cadets return to Southmont Thursday to take on Traders Point Christian in the first semifinal match of the Class A Section 41 tournament. A spot in the Saturday finals is on the line.
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