The Manchester Academy girls soccer team made an appearance this week in the first round of the playoffs by hosting Columbus Christian on Tuesday, Oct. 1. This is the first time the Lady Mavericks have advanced to the state quarter-finals in the last 5 years.
Manchester's girls soccer coach Jacob Iles said that the quarter-finals are composed of the top four teams in the north and the top four teams in the south. The Manchester girls earned their spot as the #2 seed of the south, and were excited to play #3 seed of the north, Columbus Christian on Tuesday.
Iles said that with softball season over, he was able to get in a few good practices with the entire team, which helped get them prepared for play-offs.
"On Monday afternoon I think we had one of our best practices of the season," he said. "After that we came out on Tuesday and we played really good soccer."
All that hard work and practice really did pay off for the Lady Mavericks, who overcame Columbus Christian with a score of 2-0.
"We struggled to score, as we usually do, but we dominated the play," Iles said. "We kept it on their end, and I kept telling the girls that it was only just a matter of time before we would break through and score."
The Lady Mavericks put the pedal to the metal in this game, with 2 score attempts early in the game by Sydney Porter and Anna Kate Griffin. While those attempts made it past the goalie both times, they were retracted due to a play off-sides and one ball scored after going out of bounds.
While plays like this can be frustrating in a soccer game, especially in the state quarter-finals, the Manchester girls pressed on, and finally broke through to the goal late in the 4th quarter.
"Ivy Sowell scored with about 8 minutes left in the game," Iles said. "It was a pretty shot and went in off the side of the netting."
Four minutes passed and a play was made; the ball was kicked through a group of defenders toward the visiting goal. It was at that moment that Anna Kate Griffin used her speed to break away from the other defenders, and with only air and opportunity between herself and the goalie, she kicked the ball straight into the net, scoring a second goal for the Lady Mavericks and securing the win over Columbus Christian.
Iles said that he was happy with the way the Lady Mavericks played in their first round.
"They overcame and we made it work and we prospered in the end," he said.
Monica Morrison also stood out in this game as a midfielder.
"Monica did a great job of taking care of the middle part of the field and we were able to kick the ball to our forwards and to our playmakers," Iles said. "She kept the ball up front and she was kind of our go-between. She did a great job of controlling the ball and the pace of play at midfield."
He added that Sydney Porter, Anna Kate Griffin, and Presley Trammel really stood out as playmakers on offense.
With this win, the Lady Mavericks advanced to Round 2 of the state semi-finals on Thursday at Indianola Academy. Those scores were not completed by press