Paisley Simmons

Tullahoma's Paisley Simmons (left) looks to get past a Spring Hill defender on Thursday. 

Tullahoma’s season ended at home on Thursday night, but even in defeat, the Lady Wildcats wouldn’t go down easy, trying to battle back, before ultimately losing 5-3 to Spring Hill.

Down 4-1, Tullahoma made things interesting in the final 10 minutes of play in the opening round of the District 11-AA Tournament. Julia Duncan netted a pair of scores, cutting the Lady Wildcats’ deficit down to 4-3 with seven minutes left on the clock.

Spring Hill found a way to add another score though, ultimately sealing the victory for the Lady Raiders.

Duncan scored all three goals for Tullahoma in the loss. In the process, Duncan set a new scoring record, netting the most goals in a season in Tullahoma High School history, as she put up her 37th goal of the season. The previous record of 36 goals in a season was set by Jessica Kyle in 2002.

Earlier this season, Duncan became Tullahoma’s all-time career leader in goals, smashing Kyle’s previous mark of 76, which was set in 2002. Duncan ends her four-year career with 92 goals.

On Thursday, it was Spring Hill that grabbed the early lead after the Lady Raiders dominated ball possession in the first half. Spring Hill put up 12 first half shots, eight of which were on frame, while holding Tullahoma to just five shot attempts, three of which were on target.

With 25:34 remaining in the opening period, Ansley Alexander put up the opening score of the contest. After receiving the ball on a pass from a teammate, Ansley was able to break way and find the bottom left corner of the net, giving Spring Hill a 1-0 advantage.

Nearly six minutes later, the Lady Raiders added to their lead when Abigale Alexander netted a goal. After getting the ball on the right side of the field in the middle of the box, Abigale put up a shot that landed just over the head of Tullahoma goalkeeper Trinity Tennant, making the score 2-0.

Late in the opening period, the Lady Wildcats had one solid look at points but were turned away. With seven minutes left in the period, Duncan fired off an initial shot for Tullahoma, but the ball was deflected by Spring Hill goalkeeper Macalyn Gencauski.

The rebound went to Paisley Simmons for Tullahoma, who fired a shot. This time, Gencauski was able to get possession, preserving the shutout.

Spring Hill added to its lead with the first score of the second half. With 26:26 left in the match, Isabella Phillips scored after getting possession in the middle of the box. Phillips was able to find the bottom left corner of the net, giving the Lady Raiders a 3-0 advantage.

Seven minutes later, Tullahoma got into the scoring column, as Duncan netted her first goal of the game. After Duncan’s initial shot was deflected by Gencauski, Duncan was able to get the rebound and find the bottom left corner of the net, cutting the score to 3-1.

Phillips answered back with another score for Spring Hill nearly six minutes later. After the Lady Raiders hurried downfield, Phillips received the ball on a pass, and found the bottom left corner of the net, moving the score to 4-1 with 12:50 left in the second period.

Duncan answered with a pair of quick scores for Tullahoma. After getting the ball deep, Duncan was able to connect for a score on the left side of the net, cutting the Lady Wildcats’ deficit down to 4-2 with 8:07 remaining in the match.

A minute later, Gencauski was called for a yellow card after bumping into Duncan on a race for the ball. The Lady Wildcats would receive a free kick just outside of the box, and Duncan connected, making the score 4-3 with 7:01 left on the clock.

Nearly two minutes later, Ansley netted her second score of the game for Spring Hill, putting the game away. Ansley got the ball on a breakaway and was able to cut upfield, finding the back of the net with 5:02 left in the contest, moving the score to 5-3.

In the second half, Spring Hill again dominated ball control, putting up 14 shots in the final period, 10 of which were on frame. Tullahoma had just four shots in the second half, all of which were on target.

After Thursday’s loss, the Lady Wildcats finish the season with an overall record of 8-6-3, going 4-4 against District 11-AA opponents.

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