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By Jake Kreulen, Sports Writer
To say the Coffee County Middle School soccer team had a good showing at Saturday’s Kicking Cancer Playday would be an understatement.
The Lady Raiders’ varsity and jayvee squads combined to go 5-0 on the day, outscoring their opposition 14-0 in the process.
“The weather was fairly cooperative and the crowd was fantastic all day,” said CCMS coach Travis O’Kelley. “I was very pleased by the things I saw from my girls and am very excited about our chances this season. After going undefeated and winning the tournament championship as a jayvee squad last season, these girls know that everyone is gunning for them.
“Expectations are high and I think they are prepared to live up to the hype.”
The varsity posted a 1-0 victory over Warren County with Sam Ellison notching the lone goal of event’s opening match.
“It took a little while to shake the rust off in the first contest.,” said O’Kelley. “The girls moved the ball well, were very unselfish and quite creative offensively; however, were only able to score on one of six quality chances.
“Defensively, we were patient and solid the handful of times Warren County attackers were able to cross midfield.”
The Lady Raiders rolled to an easy win over DeKalb County, despite having to sit for six hours between their two games.
“The offense was firing on all cylinders in this one as we cruised to a 4-0 victory behind Sam Ellison’s two early goals,” O’Kelley said. “Bailey Sherrell added the third on a perfectly placed cross from Allie Amado. Meagan Jones capped off the scoring on a solo effort as time was winding down. I was also pleased with the continuity the back line maintained as we rotated players in and out of the lineup.”
In junior varsity action, CCMS jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as Julia Duncan, Jenna Garretson and Ellie Graham got on the score sheet before a corner kick by Garretson found the back of the net off a Harris Middle School defender for an own goal to set the final 4-0 score.
According to O’Kelley, the Lady Raiders defense was superb as “the back line was rarely tested, but held up when they needed to, and Maddy Jones played a superb game in goal.”
Another 4-0 victory – this time over Warren County – followed as Duncan scored twice, with Jones and Baylee Haithcock adding one each in the win.
“Everyone turned in a solid effort as the offense continued to pepper the opposing keeper with shot after shot,” O’Kelley said. “Julia Duncan added two more to her total on the day. Maddy Jones transitioned well from keeper to attacker as she scored the third of the game. Baylee Haithcock also showed flexibility as she moved up from fullback to forward and finished off the scoring against Warren.
“The Lady Pioneers rarely crossed the half line, but when they did our defense answered the call.”
In the final contest of the day, CCMS overcame the effects of the two earlier games to outlast Tullahoma, 1-0, as Garretson scored the only goal of the match.
“Communication began to fall off and we became a bit unorganized, but stumbled our way through to earn the win,” O’Kelley said. “The Tullahoma defense was efficient at jamming up our forwards as they attempted to penetrate to the goal. A collective sigh of relief went up from our bench when Jenna Garretson finally found the back of the net on an excellent individual effort for the winning goal. The defense was shaky at first, but settled in and held the line firmly to help secure our fifth overall clean sheet on the day.”
The Lady Raiders posted a 4-0 victory over North Franklin Monday in a scrimmage that was halted at the half due to lightning.
Allie Amado scored twice for CCMS, while Duncan and Sherrell each scored in the win.
Coffee County opens the season with a 5 p.m. kickoff Thursday at home against Harris.