STORY AND PHOTO BY MITCHELL STEPHENSON
The matchup between two of Tennessee’s top women’s soccer programs was intense.
The Father Ryan Lady Irish are the 2018 DII-AA runner-ups, and the Ravenwood Lady Raptors are fresh off an impressive 17-2 2018 record and Class AAA state semi finalists.
Ravnewood wound up with the 2-1 victory in front of their home crowd Thursday night.
In the first two minutes of the game misfortune struck the Lady Irish as Father Ryan goalkeeper Maddie Dooling made a miraculous save and collided with the goal post. She had to leave the game with an undisclosed injury.
She was replaced by Alison Kirchoff who played heroically, making several diving saves through the contest.
Ravenwood was on the offensive for the first part of the half. Keeping the ball on the Lady Irish side of the field. But with great defense from Father Ryan they were able to keep many passes from getting set up for scoring opportunities.
However Father Ryan kept fighting and in the second portion of the half they were able to keep the ball in Raptor territory.
It took several stops by Ravenwoods goalie including a miraculous fast break save that seemed kind a sure score for Father Ryan. She played courageously all night and made several saves once the Lady Irish were able to penetrate the rough Lady Raptor defense.
With 3:47 left in the half Christina Stauffer scored for Ravenwood. They took that lead into the half.
In the second half Ravenwood continued to the offensive pressure. Running their plays and setting up several clear shots on the Irish goalie. She stood strong making save after save until the 24:19 mark when Ravenwood senior midfielder Mia Frasier got an assist and set up Junior Marcela Forero Pretto for the score making it 2-0.
With 14:24 left in the contest Juliette Arnold was able to score for the Lady Irish making it 2-1.
The last part of the contest was Father Ryan keeping the intensity high as they kept stealing passed and forced several attempts and near misses on goal. Though Ravenwood would hold and keep the win.
Lady Raptors head coach Brandon Mead gave his thoughts on the contest.
“It was a great game,’ he said. “It’s kind of developing an identity, and trying to figure some things out position wise.
“It was a great victory for us, and it was something that we needed to build on for the season…Father Ryan is always respectable, and a great opponent. It’s unfortunate their goalkeeper got hurt, and I think we were able to take advantage of a couple of breaks.
“We crashed the goal,and were able to score on that opportunity. I’m looking forward to a tough week next week. We have Independence on Tuesday, and making up the Brentwood game.”