Spain Park girls pick up commanding area victory against Eagles
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
NORTH SHELBY – A battle of top-four teams ensued when the Oak Mountain Eagles and Spain Park Jaguars met on the soccer field on Tuesday, March 20, for an important area game.
With Oak Mountain 2-0 heading into the matchup and Spain Park 1-0, it marked a chance for one team to get the upper hand in an area that features three teams ranked inside the top six, and only two of those teams allowed to advance to the postseason.
After a thrilling 1-0 area win against the No. 6 Mountain Brook Spartans just seven days earlier, the Jaguars decided they couldn’t handle another closely contested game with each area game being of the utmost importance.
From the start, Spain Park played with a dominant effort and went on to pick up its second area win of the season by a final score of 6-2.
The dominant effort was thanks in large part to a fast start in the opening half of the match as the Jags picked up four first-half goals compared to one for the Eagles.
All four of those goals came from Jasmine and Haley Greene and it started with one from each in the first 20 minutes of the game as Jasmine scored quickly off an assist from Alyssa Young and Haley scored shortly after off an assist from Hannah Horton to take a quick 2-0 lead before Oak Mountain struck with an answer.
Hailey Whitaker was able to find Kaitlin Maynard for a perfect goal that brought the Eagles to within one goal of the lead with close to 20 minutes remaining in the first half of play.
It took just two more minutes for the Jaguars to answer back with a goal of their own when Haley Greene picked up her second goal in a row off an assist from Jasmine Greene to give the Jags a 3-1 lead.
The next 13 minutes of the half were played relatively quietly compared to the action packed start, but it didn’t take long for Spain Park to change that when the Jags tacked on one more goal to their lead with 10 minutes until the halftime break thanks to Jasmine Greene picking up her second goal of the game.
Coming out of the locker room trailing 4-1 to start the second half, Oak Mountain got two strong chances within the first five minutes.
Maynard got a strong look on a penalty kick two minutes into the half that sailed over the crossbar. Shortly after, the Eagles got a strong corner opportunity, but the Spain Park defense that had been solid all night was able to clear the ball out of the zone.
Oak Mountain had several more opportunities the next 22 minutes, but never converted on any of them.
Instead, Haley Greene continued her stellar play in the second half as she helped the Jaguars take advantage of the Eagles’ misfortunes. She first assisted on a goal to Ashley Tressmann to put Spain Park up 5-1.
With just a couple of minutes remaining, both teams posted one more goal as the Jags eventually extended the lead to 6-1. That sixth goal came from none other than Haley Greene, who picked up the hat trick against one of the best teams in the state.
Whitaker then went on to score for Oak Mountain near the end of the game to add the Eagles’ second goal of the game to create the final score of 6-2.
In goal, Vivian Gray was able to make eight saves for Spain Park, which were just as key as every goal the Jags scored.
Spain Park is now 9-3 overall this season and more importantly 2-0 in area play. The Jags still have important area games against Huffman, Mountain Brook and Oak Mountain left.
The Eagles are now 9-2-2 on the season and 2-1 in area play with two wins against Huffman. Oak Mountain has games against Mountain Brook (Twice) and Spain Park once still left on the schedule, making it a difficult path.