A goal in the final seconds of Thursday’s match clinched Tullahoma’s seat into the semifinals of the District 11-AA Tournament after the Lady Wildcats rallied for a 2-1 home win over Central Magnet.
After the teams were held off the scoreboard in the first half, Central Magnet struck first for the first goal of the game when Ella Chesney scored. With nine minutes left in the contest, Meredith Fogle answered with a game-tying goal for Tullahoma.
Each team attempted to get that game-winning score, but weren’t able to capitalize, until 33 seconds were left on the clock. After getting the ball, Natalie Nunn was able to place the ball into the bottom left corner of the net, putting the Lady Wildcats up 2-1 and from there, they held on for the win.
“The girls never gave up,” said THS Head Coach Marvin Carson. “We got down 1-0, and maybe we overlooked Central Magnet because we played really well against them in Murfreesboro, so we looked over them preparing for Nolensville and that obviously wasn’t a good idea because Central Magnet came to play.
“We outshot them tonight, and we finally broke through with 9 minutes left and then you could feel momentum start to swing after that … The girls never gave up and we were able to pull it out in the end.”
Though plenty of drama ensued in the second half, it was a uneventful opening period as the defenses took over. Central Magnet was limited to just four first-half shots, two of which were on target.
Tullahoma totaled eight shots in the first half, three of which were on frame. However, the majority of those were deep shot attempts as Central Magnet’s defense closed down on the Lady Wildcats’ offensive attack.
In the second half, the Lady Tigers came out firing and Chesney scored the opening goal with 37:37 left in the match. Chesney had fired off one earlier shot in the period, but it sailed high. This time around, Chesney was able to get the ball from her teammate, make a move toward the right side of the field and fire off a shot that found the bottom left corner of the net, giving her team a 1-0 edge.
Tullahoma attempted to even the score with five shots in the first 20 minutes, but couldn’t capitalize. With nine minutes left in the contest, the Lady Wildcats found the equalizer.
After marching down the field, Julia Duncan hit Fogle with a cross pass to the right side of the field. Fogle was there to take advantage, finding the bottom left corner of the net, evening up the score at 1 with 9:09 remaining in the match.
With each team frantically trying to find the game-winning goal, it was Nunn who got to play hero. After receiving possession, Nunn was able to work the ball up, finding the bottom left corner of net, putting giving her team in front 2-1 with 33 seconds remaining in the contest.
While being anchored by the upperclassmen this season, some younger players came through in the clutch for Tullahoma, something that didn’t surprise the head coach. As a freshman, Fogle scored the game-tying for the Lady Wildcats before Nunn, a sophomore, put in the game-winning score.
“We’ve got a good young core group of players,” Carson said. “I think over the next few years, we will be a solid and strong team.”
After securing Thursday’s win, Tullahoma will travel to battle Nolensville on Tuesday. During the regular season, THS closed out the regular season with a 5-1 home loss to the Lady Knights. Kickoff on Tuesday is scheduled for 6 p.m.