Oak Mountain soccer season ends with loss to Hoover

Oak Mountain High School senior Michael Thrasher scored a game-tying goal on a penalty kick late in the second half against Hoover in the second round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A playoffs May 1.

It helped the Eagles force two overtime sessions and a penalty-kick shootout with the Bucs, but Oak Mountain coach Ryan Patridge lamented the “seven or eight” additional scoring opportunities his team failed to capitalize on in the second half of a 2-1 loss to Hoover following the shootout.

Hoover scored its first four goals and blocked away to Oak Mountain shots in the penalty-kick shootout to take the round 4-2.

“We had seven or eight chances off corners or scrambles,” Patridge said. “Our trouble scoring goals came back to bite us.”

Hoover scored a goal with just under nine minutes remaining in the first half to take a 1-0 lead at the break.

The Eagles (15-5) had four scoring chances midway through the second half, but couldn’t find the net. Daniel Wolfe came the closest to netting a goal, but his header shot hit the top crossbar of a wide open net and bounced away after the Hoover goalkeeper came out to defend an attack.

Oak Mountain finally managed to net the game-tying goal with just over six minutes remaining. Following a handball penalty against Hoover inside the box, Thrasher pounded the ball into the left side of the net to tie the game at 1-1.

Both teams failed to get a good look in the final minutes of regulation and in the first overtime. Oak Mountain had three corner kicks in the second overtime period, but junior John Imwalle’s shot off the final corner kick hit the top crossbar and the Eagles couldn’t capitalize on any of the three scoring chances.

The Eagles’ first two shots by Imwalle and Donny Maceil were blocked away. Meanwhile, Hoover successfully netted its first four penalty kicks to seal the win and advance to the Class 6A semifinals.

Patridge said it will be tough to replace a 15-man senior class, but the Eagles have a strong foundation in place to make another run at the Class 6A Final Four next season.

“We’re going to miss our seniors,” Patridge said. “Oak Mountain will always have a strong soccer program. We look to come back strong next year.”

Patridge said the Eagles definitely had a home-field advantage in the second round game. He estimated 1,200 people attended the Oak Mountain playoff game.

“Our fans are great,” Patridge said. “Our kids love playing here.”