Oak Mountain girls take home state titlePublished 11:18pm Saturday, May 10, 2014
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor
HUNTSVILLE— For the Oak Mountain girls soccer team, the mission has been accomplished.
The Eagles finished an undefeated 2014 campaign with a win over Mountain Brook in the AHSAA Class 6A state soccer finals to take home the title.
In a rematch of last season’s final — which saw the Spartans take a 2-0 win over the Eagles — the Oak Mountain matched the physical play of the Spartans, this time capitalizing on offense to take a 1-0 win.
The Spartans came out playing a physical game, similar in fashion to last season’s finals. The Eagles refused to give an inch, and the two team squared off in a defensive showcase through the first half.
Eagle keeper Kate Denney came up with a huge save with 29:35 left in the first half, and the Spartans had another scoring opportunity less than ten minutes later, booting a shot over the goal.
Neither team could find the back of the net, and took a scoreless tie into halftime.
Sixteen minutes into the second half, the Eagles found paydirt. Julia Buckner — also named tournament MVP — put shot in back of the goal to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Mountain Brook appeared to tie the game less than thirty seconds later, as a Spartan shot hit the crossbar and bounced downward, seeming to cross into the goal. The ball rolled loose, and was knocked away by a tangle of Eagles and Spartans.
The ball was ruled to not have crossed the goalline, and the Eagles maintained the 1-0 lead.
The Eagles stifled the Spartans’ offense for the rest of the match, using a big save by Denney with 13 minutes to go to keep Mountain Brook off the borad.
The Eagles never surrendered the lead, taking the 1-0 win and the fifth state title in the school’s history.
Head coach Pete Dakis said his players had their eyes on the trophy all season.
“We talked about (it) the season,” he said. “Find ways to win and refuse to lose. It’s very simple. Our defense and our keepers refused to get scored on, and that was the key.”