Grace Academy Stays Unbeaten In 5-A/AA Soccer

Lady Golden Eagles Defeat McMinn Central 3-1

Thursday, October 3, 2013 - by Jaime Barrett
With the District 5-A/AA regular-season title on the line, the Grace Academy girls’ soccer team couldn’t have asked for a better beginning Thursday evening against McMinn Central.

When Olivia Rowell scored off a Danielle Shumaker assist in the opening minutes, it gave the host Lady Golden Eagles a boost that carried them through to a 3-1 victory. The win all but guarantees that Grace will have the No. 1 seeding when the 5-A/AA tournament begins in two weeks.

“That kind of gave us a little bit of confidence,” Lady Golden Eagles coach Gretchen Hammel said of Rowell’s goal.
“You can have a little bit of a mental rest knowing that you’ve gotten that goal. We’re usually a second half team, so we really talked about trying to get something off quick and catch them off guard.”

Grace, now 12-1-1 overall and 7-0 in 5-A/AA,  took a 2-0 lead into halftime after Liz Mouw connected on a ball from Holly Badger. Mouw is in her second week back on the field after recovering from a torn ACL, and Hammel said her presence in the lineup has given an additional lift to an already-strong team.

“It’s awesome to have her back,” she said. “She’s been our leading scorer for the last two years. She’s just an amazing forward, and you know she’s been itching to get back out there. She gives us a ton of energy, and at a time of the season when we could get tired and burnt out, she gives us that extra push.”

Lady Golden Eagles keeper Abbey Bosco made several key saves to withstand a McMinn Central push in the second half before Grace added to its lead with 6:26 left to play. Rachel Beard finished a ball from Chloe Phillips to make it 3-0, and although the Lady Chargers ended the shutout with a score just as stoppage time began, it didn’t prevent Grace from securing the win -- and the district regular season.

“I think they were very solid tonight,” Hammel said. “We talked a lot about being really smart. We like to try to make the ball do the work ,and I think we did that. It got physical at times, but I think both teams worked really hard. They have a lot of speed on their team, and trying to counteract that is tough, but my girls looked to possess well. They did everything that I asked them to do, and everything that we needed to do. But they also showed me some holes tonight, and some weak spots that we need to work on.”

(E-mail Jaime Barrett at jaimenbarrett@gmail.com)

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