Lady Eagles clinch area title

Published 10:42 am Friday, April 8, 2016

Monica Thrasher of Oak Mountain looks to pass during the Lady Eagles’ 2-0 win over Hoover on April 7. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

Monica Thrasher of Oak Mountain looks to pass during the Lady Eagles’ 2-0 win over Hoover on April 7. (Reporter Photo / Baker Ellis)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

HOOVER – After getting beat for just the second time this year by Vestavia, a 2-1 defeat on April 4, the Oak Mountain Lady Eagles were back in action on April 7 against area rival Hoover as Oak Mountain made a push to stay undefeated in area play. A late first half run gave the Lady Eagles a 2-0 lead over Hoover, and after a scoreless second half, Oak Mountain moved to 15-2-1 on the year and 4-0 in area play, clinching home field advantage for the first round of the 7A playoffs.

“Honestly I thought we could have played better,” Oak Mountain head coach David DiPiazza said after the game of his teams’ performance. “I’m happy with the result obviously, it gave us our area championship, gave us a chance to play in the metro championship, but I thought we didn’t have a great game. A lot of that has to do with Hoover and how they played, but I don’t think either of us possessed the ball particularly well.”

Neither team found much success against the other in the early going. Both Hoover and Oak Mountain had a few chances, but the first 20 minutes of the game were spent bogged down in the middle of the field.

In the 26th minute, however, there was a spark as the Oak Mountain attacking duo of Hailey Whitaker and Alexandra Dunn combined to find the back of the Hoover net. Whitaker played a ball to Dunn in space inside the Hoover 18-yard box that Dunn flicked past the Hoover keeper, giving the Lady Eagles a 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later the Lady Eagles were knocking on the Hoover door again with a corner kick opportunity. Sophomore Julia Pack played a lofted ball into the Hoover box, and Kendall Maynard was able to push the offering in for a goal after a flurry of activity, which gave Oak Mountain a quick 2-0 lead.

Hoover’s best chance of the game came in the 55th minute, when keeper Alyssa Vess had to spring into action to deny a one-v-one opportunity. Whitaker had a chance to add to the lead in the 64th minute on a breakaway opportunity, but couldn’t finish the chance. Eighth grader Danielle Retief had two looks at goal late in the match, both in the 75th minute, but the Hoover keeper made a pair of impressive saves to deny the youngster as the game ended at a 2-0 final.

With the win, the Lady Eagles moved to 4-0 in 7A Area 5 play, and still have to play Thompson and Tuscaloosa County once more, but have already locked up a playoff spot and the area crown thanks to the 2-0 result.