Spain Park shuts out crosstown rival Hoover
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
HOOVER – It wasn’t just a normal top-10 battle on Tuesday, April 2, but a matchup of crosstown rivals when No. 4 Spain Park hosted No. 7 Hoover in the second meeting between the two this season.
In a matchup back on Feb. 28, the two teams tied 0-0, but thanks to Jasmine and Haley Greene, that wouldn’t be the case this time around, as the Jaguars bested their rivals in a 3-0 shutout.
Both scored in the first half to put the Jags up 2-0 at the break, and then Jasmine Greene added her second of the game late in the second half to cement the final.
With the victory, Spain Park (11-2-2, 2-1) won its sixth consecutive game and has won or tied in 13 of its last 14 games. The Jags’ only two losses this season have come to No. 1 Vestavia Hills and No. 2 Oak Mountain.
In the first five minutes of the contest with the Buccaneers, it looked as if Hoover was going to come out firing. The Bucs hit the cross bar off a corner kick less than three minutes into the game and controlled the ball on their half of the field for the first 10 minutes of the game.
Then a drastic shift ensued.
Both Jasmine and Haley started to find openings and put a ton of pressure on Hoover’s back line. Jasmine got the first good look and hit the crossbar herself with 25:20 to play in the opening half.
Less than 20 seconds later, Haley found an open shot and just missed wide right of the goal. She got another chance five minutes later, lofting a shot high in the air from the top of the box, but Hoover’s keeper leapt in the air and narrowly pulled the ball down preventing the goal.
Over the next 10 minutes, the Jags got chance-after-chance, but never could find the back of the net.
That changed shortly after with 8:07 left in the opening half. After the ball was chipped ahead by a teammate, Jasmine sprinted to catch up to it and found herself in a one-on-one situation with the keeper, in which she blasted a shot into the net for the first goal of the game.
Leading 1-0, it helped to see all of the opportunities finally pay off, and Spain Park didn’t let up after.
Jasmine got two more great chances in one-on-one situations, but the keeper came out to challenge both and deflected each one. The second of those, however, bounced right to Haley at the top of the box.
She took one dribble then sent a shot screaming into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead with 46 seconds remaining in the half.
Those two had Hoover’s number in the first half, and continued challenging the defenders in the second half.
Jasmine seemingly got 10 more chances in the second half, all of which were great opportunities, but none ended in a goal.
Having a light laugh after each one, she shook it off and finally converted with 3:25 remaining in the game getting into the box on the right side and eventually firing the ball past a frozen Hoover keeper for a 3-0 advantage.
Even with a 1-0 lead, the way Spain Park’s defense was playing, the Jags weren’t in any danger of losing.
The defense hardly let Hoover near the goal, much less get a clean shot off after those first 10 minutes of the game. That along with strong goalkeeping helped the jags pull off the 3-0 shutout of their rival.