Lady Eagles dismantle Mountain Brook in opening round
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
NORTH SHELBY – The Oak Mountain Lady Eagles (21-3-1) are in familiar territory. Springtime has been good to the girls soccer program from Oak Mountain in recent years, as they are winners of two of the last three 6A state championships. Coming off of a 26-0-1 season where Maxpreps.com crowned them National Champions, the Lady Eagles have firmly cemented themselves as one of the top programs in the state. The trend of excellence has been no different this year than it has been in years past, as Oak Mountain was ranked first in the state in class 7A heading into the state tournament.
In the opening round of the inaugural 7A state tournament, the Lady Eagles faced off against all-too-familiar foe, Mountain Brook. The Lady Spartans have met Oak Mountain in each of the last two 6A state championship games, with Mountain Brook coming away with the title in 2013 before Oak Mountain took the title in 2014. Because of the realignment in areas that came about with the emergence of a 7A classification, these two teams met much earlier in this year’s tournament than in years past.
The Lady Spartans are ranked fifth in class 7A, and in the only meeting between the two teams in the regular season, Oak Mountain escaped with a 1-0 victory on April 15. The end result was the same in the first round of the playoffs as well. Ansley Neeley knocked in the first goal of the day off of a deflected ball with 13 minutes remaining in the first half to start the scoring. Seven minutes later, Hailey Whitaker ripped a shot past the Mountain Brook keeper to double Oak Mountain’s lead going into the half.
Whitaker added her second goal of the game 11 minutes into the second half to bring the score to 3-0. Alexandra Dunn knocked in the fourth goal of the game with 20 minutes left in the game, and the 4-0 score held until the end.
The Lady Eagles path will not get easier, as they will take on 7A No. 2 Vestavia Hills at home on May 2 at 1 p.m. Oak Mountain has played Vestavia three times this season, and is currently 0-2-1 against the Lady Rebels.