Thompson girls shock Oak Mountain

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, April 13, 2016

For the first time in program history, the Thompson Lady Warriors defeated Oak Mountain on the soccer pitch on April 12. (File)

For the first time in program history, the Thompson Lady Warriors defeated Oak Mountain on the soccer pitch on April 12. (File)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

ALABASTER – The Thompson girls soccer program did something it has never done on April 12. The Lady Warriors took on area opponent and Alabama overall No. 2 Oak Mountain, and beat the Lady Eagles by a final score of 1-1 (3-2) to move to 10-6-3 on the year and 3-2 in area play. The win kept Thompson’s playoff hopes alive as well, and if the Lady Warriors can beat Hoover at home on April 14, Thompson will be back in the 7A playoffs for the second year in a row.

“I thought the game was pretty even,” Thompson girls head coach Nathan Button said about the match. “I think we play better on turf against them than we do at their place. I don’t know if it’s a home field advantage thing or we play better on turf. We had a nice crowd too, which helped.”

The first half of the Oak Mountain game was a back-and-forth affair, as neither team could find much of an advantage over the other in the early going. The Lady Eagles broke through first when Julia Pack placed a corner kick up around the Thompson 18-yard box that was then fired into the back of the Lady Warriors net by Allison Nix off a rebound, giving Oak Mountain a 1-0 lead, which they held at halftime.

The 1-0 lead for Oak Mountain did not hold long into the second half, as Thompson junior Meghan Cottingham put a shot on goal that found its way past Oak Mountain keeper Alyssa Vess, tying the game at 1-1. The rest of the second half was a stalemate, as neither team could find the back of the net, and regulation ended in a 1-1 draw.

Because this was an area game, the match could not end in a tie, and the two teams headed to overtime. In the second 10-minute overtime period, Thompson keeper Molly Morris made an incredible save to keep the Lady Eagles from stealing the game late. After Morris’ effort kept the game tied, the two teams headed to penalty kicks to declare a winner.

In the penalty kick shootout, only Oak Mountain’s Pack and Nealy Martin were able to convert their attempts, as Morris saved an astounding three Oak Mountain shots. It was almost as if she was able to tell where the Lady Eagles’ shot-takers were going to place the ball before they kicked it, and always got to the spot ahead of the ball to keep the shots out of the back of the net. Thompson connected on three of its first four shots, and the fifth shooter did not even have to step to the line, as Morris kept out Oak Mountain’s fifth shot, giving the Lady Warriors a 3-2 advantage in PKs and the thrilling, potentially season-saving win.

Thompson has now split its series with Oak Mountain, beaten Tuscaloosa County twice and lost to Hoover once. The Lady Bucs, who have lost to Oak Mountain twice and beaten Tuscaloosa County twice, come to Thompson tomorrow night, April 14, with identical area records of 3-2. The winner of that game will be the second team out of 7A Area 5 to advance to the playoffs.

“We talked about it before we left the locker room, it’s a great win, be happy, but we have to move on,” Button said. “We can celebrate the Oak Mountain game after we beat Hoover.”

All the Lady Warriors could ask for against Oak Mountain was to give themselves a chance for a playoff berth. Now that they have done that, they will take the momentum from that win into tomorrow’s game, and try to beat Hoover for the first time this season.