Jacksonville (16-2-1) will face Guntersville in the state quarterfinals Saturday. This is the same opponent and same round in which Jacksonville has fallen the previous two years.
“We’ve trained really hard and we’ll give it all we’ve got,” said Jacksonville freshman goalkeeper Matti Lowery, a three-year starter. “We’ll give everything we’ve got in our hearts.”
Saturday’s match will be on the road. The AHSAA is expected to announce a gametime today.
“I hope we can get over this hurdle,” Jacksonville coach Sam Cain said.
If anyone thought Jacksonville might get caught peeking ahead at a showdown with Guntersville and look past a second-round game at Donoho, the Lady Golden Eagles showed quickly that wasn’t so.
In a matchup of two teams in which players on both sides know each other well, Jacksonville struck for three goals in the first 13 minutes, 16 seconds. Jordan Terry, Virginia Poe and Rachel Osterbind each scored, putting Jacksonville ahead 3-0. Poe assisted on Osterbind’s goal, and Osterbind returned the favor on Poe’s goal.
“The fast start relaxed our team. It lowered the blood pressure,” Lowery said with a big smile.
Jacksonville remained aggressive and before halftime, Jacksonville got another goal from Osterbind. Then with 1:31 left before halftime, Poe added her second goal.
Osterbind scored her third goal with 36:33 left in the game.
From that point forward, however, the Donoho defense tightened, and goalkeeper Peyton Suco made several saves, including a couple of diving stops that drew cheers from the home crowd, who applauded her effort even though a loss seemed near certain by that point.
“Their goalie made some great saves,” Cain said. “She did a great job.”
Lesli Williams scored Donoho’s goal with 36:16 to play.
Donoho completed its season at 14-6-1, which is the best record in the girls soccer program’s six-year history.
It marked the final game for Donoho’s four seniors, Mallory Landen, Marissa Davis, Katherine Westbrook and Ali Morris. All four have played on the varsity every year the school has had a girls soccer team.