MURRAY — The district tournament was the final stop for the Lady Lakers as they fell 4-0 to the Lady Marshals on Wednesday night.
As the first half wound down, the Lady Marshals delivered the first punch. A foul inside the box by the Lady Lakers gave Marshall a penalty kick and a 1-0 lead with under a minute left on the clock.
It was a complete game performance by the Lady Marshals with solid defense and timely offense that spelled the end of the Lady Lakers season.
First-year Lady Lakers head coach Savana Thielen led her team to a solid 7-3-3 record in her inaugural year but ultimately came up short of the regional tournament.
“They’ve got a lot of girls that can play defense,” Thielen said. “They can defend front to back…I just felt like we were one step behind for a big portion of the game, but we still had more of an attack in the second half than we did in the first. I’m proud of their efforts in the second half, but Marshall is just solid.”
With the unbreakable defense, the Lady Lakers found themselves on their heels playing defense most of the game. It was a relatively new experience for the team that averaged over four goals a game.
“They shut down our attack really well and that’s what we are good at, attacking, so when they shut down our attack the ball was on our defense pretty hard for most of the game,” Thielen said.
The whole season was odd from the start with Thielen getting hired in July. Plus COVID-19 restrictions and a season that was up in the air as the team began practice with no contact and worked in pods.
They persevered and found themselves in a prime position to clinch a second-straight trip to the regional tournament, but ultimately came up short.
Senior Elle Carson led the Lady Lakers offensively this year and was a huge part of the game plan for both sides. For Calloway, they wanted to get her the ball in space, while the Lady Marshals did everything they could to limit her touches. In the end, her high school soccer career came to a close.
“I wouldn’t lie to you and say it wasn’t heartbreaking because I knew it was the end of something,” Carson said. “Soccer has been a huge part of my life, but I do know that there’s the possibility of me going to the next level so there’s some excitement there but also heartbreak. This has been my family for the last four years.”
The Lady Lakers did everything they could to accomplish their goals and for a coach, that’s all you want out of them.
“I’m so proud that the girls made it this far and I couldn’t have asked for a better season,” Thielen said. “We had seven great wins, three awesome ties and go out with just our third loss in the district tournament semifinals. We’ve had great leadership from the seniors and everyone gave me 110% and that’s all I can ask for.”