Spain Park’s girls pick up one-goal win to earn playoff spot

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

TRUSSVILLE – Sitting at 3-2 in area play heading into a matchup with Hewitt-Trussville on Tuesday, April 20, it was quite simple for the Spain Park Jaguars—win and make the playoffs or lose and miss out on the postseason.

That was the fate for the Jaguars after they lost to the Huskies back on March 4 by a score of 3-2.

Since that game, however, Spain Park had won six of eight heading into the second matchup with Hewitt, including a massive win against area foe and Class 7A No. 1 Vestavia Hills 3-2 four days earlier.

That win against the Rebels set the Jags up in a winner-take-all matchup with Hewitt, who entered the match 2-3 in area play. The Huskies, however, would have had a tiebreaker over the Jags if the two had finished 3-3 in the area.

But in a defensive battle, Spain Park fought for its season and put together a stellar shutout performance, while freshman Tatum Ahlemeyer added a goal in the final minutes of the contest that made the difference in a 1-0 victory that sent the Jaguars to the playoffs.

The win wouldn’t have been possible without senior goalkeeper Vivian Gray, who put together a stellar clean sheet.

She got the Jags through the first half in a scoreless game, as did the back line of the defense.

That great defense continued into the second half, while Gray made one of the plays of the match with 11 minutes to play with a great block to keep the game scoreless.

It was part of a night that saw her stop several balls that were difficult to get to.

And two minutes later, it finally paid off.

Spain Park got the opportunity it had waited all night for when Ahlemeyer put through what became the game-winner with 9:03 to play on a header off a free kick, which sent the Jags into celebration mode.

But they had to lock down for the final nine minutes of the game to close out the victory and did just that to cement their spot in the Class 7A playoffs.

The Jags improved to 4-2 in area play to finish just behind No. 1 Vestavia Hills at 5-1 and are now 11-3-1 overall. Spain Park has now won seven of nine with the lone loss coming to the Rebels.