By CAMDEN JOINER | Photos by STEVE WHEELER
The Class A/AA state championship game was scoreless until the final seven minutes.
Jessica Sallah of Greeneville kicked a shot from the far right of the pitch, over fifteen yards out from the goal, that sailed over the goalkeeper’ s head and hit the back of the net. Sallah’s goal came with just 6:39 left in the game.
Surprisingly, Greeneville’s only goal came on what was its most difficult shot attempt. The Lady Devils had many close attempts in the first half, including a breakaway shot attempt from Katherine Galoffin, which was stopped by a diving save from CPA goalie Kayla Wegner.
“My first instinct is to go for the ball and back up my teammates,” Wegner said. “I think we played pretty well, no matter the outcome. I’m still so proud of my team and I’m thankful for winning second place.”
The championship game was a tale of two halves. Greeneville looked to score with many close shot attempts in the first, while CPA controlled the ball for much of the second.
“Our approach was basically to empty your pockets,” Tom Gerlach said. “When you come off the field, you want the gauge to read zero. We had the stomach flu and four girls sick yesterday, not to take anything away from Greeneville, but when you’re going in there not one hundred percent you have to dig deep. And the girls did.”
CPA forward Sarah Sievertsen had a couple of good looks in the second half, but her attempts were halted by the Greeneville goalie.
“They gave it everything they had. Greeneville scored a great goal,” Gerlach continued. “We had chances and they had chances. I thought our goalkeeper stepped up huge and made a couple of saves, but we just gassed.”
The CPA Lady Lions finished the season with a 20-5-2 overall record.
“We really had to overcome a lot of odds to even get here,” Gerlach said. “I know our girls are sad for losing, but I think they’re actually more sad it’s over. Because the journey is more important than the destination for this team. I love this team.”