One-third of the way through soccer season, Spain Park (Ala.) accomplished a feat Friday that no other team has: it played the Glynn Academy girls to a draw.
The Tournament of Champions match between the Jaguars and Terrors ended in a 2-2 tie at the North Glynn Recreation Complex.
Glynn Academy started the contest off looking the part of a team that’s opened the season with six straight victories as it maintained possession with smart, controlled knocks and passes before settling for more of a long-ball attack.
But the Terrors found most of their offensive success in the second half when it got back to its style of soccer — Hannah Burdandt and Anna Meredith each finding the back of the net among the shots on goal.
“In the second half, we went back to our ways of knocking it,” Glynn head coach Tom Lemmon said. “Playing the ball wide and using our flank players, and getting balls driven across the box and creating several opportunities.”
Defensively, a couple of mental breakdowns by the Terrors led to Jaguar goals, but other than those two plays, Lemmon was impressed with how his team limited the opponent’s scoring opportunities. Glynn’s work in goal was particularly impressive, as was its ability to effectively neutralize on of Spain Park’s best players.
“Their No. 10, she’s a handful, but Madison Brewer did well with her,” Lemmon said. “We’ve got a young new keeper, she made some great saves for us.”
The Terrors had a few looks at the game-winning goal as the clock ran below two minutes remaining, but a pair of shots went wide to either side of the net.
“We started dominating the game late, and putting a lot of pressure on their backs,” Lemmon said. “We were playing our flanks, playing our style, and getting the ball out wide, which was drawing their center-backs out of position, which is giving us runs in the box to get open.”
After the match, the Glynn girls gathered around Lemmon in a somber mood, disappointed they hadn’t put forth their best effort of the season.
The Terrors entered Friday’s match a perfect 6-0 on the season, having outscored their opponents 42-5. Glynn beat Class 2A power Lovett in penalty kicks on Feb. 15, but no other match had been decided by fewer than four goals.
Just around 10 months removed from a heart-breaking loss in the program’s first appearance in the state finals, the Glynn Academy girls appeared poised to make another run.
“It’s these girls,” Lemmons said. “They’ve all been with me for two years now, some are in their first year, but for the most part, most of our starters have been with me for two years, so they know our style, they know our philosophy, and they know our technique that we want to go after and the urgency we want to play with.”
“Their hard work, and everything, pays off.”