Lady Warriors end season with win
Published 4:30 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
ALABASTER – On April 27 the Thompson Lady Warriors finished their 2016 soccer season with a 3-0 win over Huntsville, the 7A Area 7 champion, ending the season with an 11-8-3 record. Meghan Cottingham scored twice while Allison Singletary added the other goal in her final high school game. Singletary also had an assist on one of Cottingham’s goals while Emma Mayer had an assist as well, and Molly Morris had seven saves in goal in her final cap.
This Thompson team will graduate six seniors, which is slightly above average according to head coach Nathan Button. The Lady Warriors will say goodbye to their keeper Morris, their two center backs Lauren Mayer and Lauren Talley, their center midfielder in Singletary, and reserves Jordan Williams and Kelly Wanhalato. Button said, despite the disappointment that comes with missing the playoffs, that this was one of his favorite teams to coach and be around.
“Honestly this was one of my favorite groups to coach,” Button said. “A lot of times your teams develop cliques, where some girls will break off and do stuff all by themselves. This team, for the most part, wasn’t like that. Everybody got along for the most part. We didn’t have a group that cut itself off from the team.”
Thompson was coming off an impressive 19-win campaign in 2014 and only graduated three seniors off of that team, however with those seniors went a large chunk of the offensive production, and the Lady Warriors struggled to consistently find the back of the net this year as a result.
“We were a little bit concerned coming in, while we had only graduated three the previous year, they had made for almost all of our offence except for Meghan,” Button said. “We were able to overcome that, just not consistently enough.”
While the Lady Warriors missed the playoffs this year, this team did something that no other team in the history of the program has done before, namely, beat daunted Oak Mountain. Thompson beat the Lady Eagles in a penalty kick shootout at home on April 12 when Morris came up huge in goal on three separate occasions.
“For the seniors you feel bad that we couldn’t get into the playoffs, but that is something they will take with them,” Button said of the Oak Mountain win.
While in 2016 the problem coming into the year stemmed from a lack of goal-scorers, 2017 presents the opposite problem. Cottingham will be back for her senior season next year, and Melanie Brannon, Peyton Poe along with rising sophomore Nicole Carter are all more capable now than ever of helping to carry the scoring load, but with the backbone of the defense graduating, Button will turn to some fresh faces to help shore up the defense.
Chloe Sims, who will be a freshman next season, looks to take over in goal, while Button will have to wait and see who will take over the middle of his defense.
The Lady Warriors missed the playoff this year thanks to a sudden-death, overtime goal that Hoover scored against them on April 14. However, Thompson finished the season 4-2 in its last six games, and had a winning record once again.