Girls have 7 in final soccer poll

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Girls soccer in Shelby County during the spring of 2017 reached a new level. Whether it be Briarwood’s Sarah Adcock scoring six goals in the state championship game and 10 total in the final four, or Chelsea upsetting Homewood, John Carroll and Southside Gadsden on its way to the school’s second championship; this season brought us so many great storylines that won’t soon be forgotten.

While, Chelsea and Briarwood were the only two state champions from the county, seven total finished the season ranked in their respective classification. Showing that not only did the season end with two champions out of four divisions, but that the entire regular season was a battle of the state’s most elite teams, solely within this county.

In the 7A rankings, Oak Mountain came in as the No. 3 team in the final standings. While one of the better teams I saw this season due to their speed and aggression, the Eagles fell in the Final Four to a team that was just a tad better in Vestavia. They still, however, finished with the second most wins and third least amount of losses in the county.

With their 20 wins, the Eagles trailed just 7A state champion McGill-Toolen, who had 24 wins this season. They also ended the season with just three losses, which was one behind the Yellow Jackets and Rebels, who met for the state championship.

Spain Park was another consistent team inside the standings this season and ended the year as the No. 5 7A team in the state. The Jags battled for a hard-fought playoff spot this year being in a tough division with Oak Mountain and Mountain Brook, but their reward was a first-round matchup with Vestavia, who handled Spain Park with relative ease.

The Jaguars are still looking to get back to their dominance of a few years ago, but are right on the cusp of breaking through.

Thompson was the final county team ranked in the 7A poll coming in at No. 13 out of 16 ranked teams. Similar to Oak Mountain and Spain Park, the Warriors were in one of the toughest areas with Vestavia and Hoover, and just missed a playoff spot that Hoover received instead. Their 13-11-2 record doesn’t show an average team; it shows a team that battled against several of the toughest teams in the state all season.

Chelsea was the only team from the county in the 6A top 10, but their No. 1 ranking makes up for the lack of company. The Hornets ended the season with 12 consecutive wins and beat three of the top 4 teams behind them on their way to the second championship in school history. They played one of the toughest schedules of any team this year combined between both the boys and girls in the entire state.

While Briarwood’s path to a state championship was easier than any other division, it doesn’t diminish the incredible display they put on to finish as champions and the No. 1 5A team in the state. They won seven games in a row to end the season scoring six-plus goals in all seven of those games.

Probably the most disappointing part of the playoffs was Indian Springs and Westminster having to face off against each other in the first round. The two teams ended the season in the top five, after spending much of the season as the No. 1 and 2 teams in the 1A-3A classification.

Springs, who ended the season No. 5, went on to lose that matchup to the now No. 4 Knights in a close 3-2 game. It was basically a championship game in the first round, which took a lot of fight and emotion leading to a tough second round game against Montgomery Academy in which they lost 5-3 ending both of the powerhouse soccer programs’ seasons in the first two rounds.

While neither was able to pick up a championship, the county had two win a title and three make it to the Final Four in a strong season and it will be interesting to see how these teams have improved in 2018 with loads of talent back across the county.