Lady Eagles beat Vestavia in overtime thriller

Hailey Whitaker and the Oak Mountain Lady Eagles beat Vestavia Hills in the Metro Championship on April 22 in overtime, advancing to 19-3-1 on the year. (File)

Hailey Whitaker and the Oak Mountain Lady Eagles beat Vestavia Hills in the Metro Championship on April 22 in overtime, advancing to 19-3-1 on the year. (File)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

HOOVER – After losing to Vestavia on April 4 in the Birmingham Metro Tournament, Oak Mountain got another crack at the 7A No. 1 ranked Lady Rebels on April 22, traveling to Hoover High School to play Vestavia in the Metro Tournament championship. After 80 minutes of scoreless soccer, Oak Mountain’s Sara Scherer scored in sudden death overtime, giving the Lady Eagles the Metro Tournament title and the overall No. 1 ranking in the state in the process.

Both Vestavia and Oak Mountain had chances throughout the first half, but neither could find the back of the net. Hailey Whitaker had an early look at goal that sailed just high while Lucy Thrasher had a chance at a header off a corner kick halfway through the first half and had another look at goal late in the half that both resulted in nothing. The Lady Rebels pushed the tempo from the jump, looking to get an early goal and cultivate some momentum, but Alyssa Vess came up big in goal on multiple occasions, keeping the game slotted at 0-0 headed into the half.

Vess went down at the beginning of the second half with a nosebleed, forcing Nealy Martin to step in as keeper momentarily before Vess returned to action. The majority of the second half was played in the Oak Mountain defensive third, with the Lady Rebels continuing to get chance after chance. The Oak Mountain defense held fast however, not allowing the Lady Rebels to turn any of their chances into goals, and the two teams finished the second half still tied 0-0.

In the overtime period, after some more back and forth from both teams, the Lady Eagles finally broke through when Scherer put a goal in the back of the net, giving Oak Mountain the hard-fought 1-0 win. Oak Mountain is now 1-1 on the year against Vestavia, and will likely see the Lady Rebels once more in the playoffs.

The Eagles advanced to 19-3-1 on the season, taking over the No. 1 ranking in the state of Alabama in the process.