Category Archives: high school soccer

All-State soccer teams named

SM-Tn Sports

The Tennessee Sports Writers Association announced its girls soccer all-state teams for Class AAA, Class AA, Class A, Division II-A and Division II-AA. They are listed below.

Class AAA

GK — Caroline Ekern, Farragut, Jr.; Maggie Ward, Collierville, Sr.; D — Kendall Giles, Hendersonville, Sr.; Kendall Giles, Hendersonville, Sr.; Sabrina White, Stewarts Creek, Sr.; MF — Nora Henderson, Ravenwood, Sr.; Becca Roth, Bearden, So.; Emma Shields, Franklin, Jr.; F — Kayla Barr, Maryville, So.; Marcela Forrero-Preto, Ravenwood, Sr.; Brinley Murphy, Bearden, So.; Emma Riales, Germantown Houston, Sr.

Class AA

GK — Avery Pogue, Murfreesboro Central, Sr.; Darci Zeh, East Hamilton, Sr.; D — Sam Crews, South Gibson, Sr.; Khylia Lamb, East Hamilton, Sr.; Olivia Norris, Greeneville, Jr.; MF — Ashleigh Clark, Murfreesboro Central, Jr.; Macy Vermillion, Greeneville, Sr.; Abby Wolfenbarger, Seymour, Sr.; F — Lindsey Cook, Greeneville, Sr.; Natalie Dunn, Hume-Fogg, Jr.; Kaitlin Huntley, Livingston Acad., Sr.; Carolina Pittman, Gibbs, So.

Class A

GK — Brooke Ashworth, Valor Prep, Fr.; Reilly Furr, Signal Mountain, Sr.; D — Aminah Madwah, Madison Academic, Sr.; Peyton Potts, Alcoa, Sr.; Hailey Ward, Signal Mountain, Sr.; MF — Josi Greene, Peabody, Sr.; Marci Merrill, Chuckey-Doak, Jr.; McKinna Murr, Alcoa, Sr.; F — Bonnie Lauderback, Alcoa, Sr.; Briley Lowry, Signal Mountain, Sr.; Kallie Martindale, Adamsville, Sr.; Aly Ramsey, Cumberland Gap, So.

Division II-A

GK — Mary Carter Logan, Christ Presbyterian Acad., Sr.; Lilly Kate Varino, Univ. School of Jackson, So.; D — Nora Burton, St. George’s, Sr.; Sylvie Keck, Christ Presbyterian Acad., Sr.; Stella Spencer, Univ. School of Jackson, So.; MF — McClain Cameron, Knoxville Webb, Jr.; Keaton Mitchell, Battle Ground Acad., So.; Kennedy Price, Battle Ground Acad., Jr.; F — Caroline Betts, Christ Presbyterian Acad., Jr.; Maddie Bishop, St. George’s, Sr.; Morgan English, Univ. School of Jackson, So.; Grace Renegar, Silverdale Baptist, Sr.

Division II-AA

GK — Allison Kirchhoff, Father Ryan, Jr.; Kaedra Thorstenson, Girls Prep, Sr.; D — Lucy James Knox, Brentwood Acad., Sr.; Hunter McVay, Girls Prep, Sr.; Ana Wasilewski, Briarcrest Chr., Jr.; MF — Sydney Morris, Girls Prep, Sr.; Sarah Strong, Briarcrest Chr., Sr.; Kelly Tuerff, Father Ryan, Sr.; F — Kennedy Ball, Girls Prep, So.; Aliya Cooper, Baylor, Jr.; Ashley Grant, Girls Prep, Sr.; Bradie West, Father Ryan, Sr.

New Spartans keeper learning on the ‘Fly’

By Chris Yow

When all three of Summit’s goal keepers went down with injuries, including 2019 All-District senior Addie Johnson, coach Deni Ismailovic turned to Jenna Fly and put the burden on the junior defender.

“Obviously, we are banged up right now. I think (Johnson) went down; it doesn’t look good,” he said. “We have three keepers they are all out.”

Racing to get to a ball in the corner of the box, Johnson stretched her leg out and it buckled, leaving her on the turf of her home field before being helped off by trainers and coaching staff.

Tied at 0-0, Fly entered the match for the first time as a keeper for her varsity team, but not for the first time ever.

“It’s a lot different from playing the field. I’ve played goal keeper before, but never for varsity,” Fly said following the game. “When I got subbed in, I was stressed because I knew what was happening with (Johnson), but once they scored, I relaxed a little.”

Summit goal keeper Jenna Fly kicks out a loose ball against Nolensville on Tuesday. (Photo by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports)

Ismailovic said he thought Fly played well for the most part.

“Jenna does a good job for us, she never complains,” he said. “She does what we ask her to do, and we need her in goal right now. I’m proud of all the girls, we are trying to piece things together.”

Summit fell 2-0 to Nolensville on Tuesday night when Johnson was injured. Both goals were scored against Fly, one in each half. The first of which was an arching shot just too far out of her upward-reaching hand.

“I would like to think our normal keeper would get that, but now that we are going with Jenna, we have to grind our teeth and defend a little better,” Ismailovic said. “We got a little tired because of injuries, but everyone is dealing with that now.”

In the Spartans’ district match against Brentwood, a 4-0 loss on Thursday, Fly said she just has to warm up and prepare to play her best against a very good team.

“I just have to warm up and treat every game as any another game,” Fly said. “I can’t go in nervous, I just have to play hard.”

Mason Wells scored a hat trick before the half to lead the Bruins in the game. Haley Hannah scored the final goal in the win.

“Brentwood is very good,” Ismailovic said. “I have been coaching club for a long time, and I have coached a lot of those kids. They are a great team and the type of program that we are striving to get to.”

Chris Yow is the multimedia director at SM-Tn Sports. Contact him at sports@sm-tnsports.com or follow on Twitter @ChrisYow14.

Struggling to ‘finish’, Lady Lions blanked for third time

By Maurice Patton

Coming out of a two-week quarantine period for pandemic-related reasons, Columbia Central resumed its girls soccer schedule Thursday against visiting District 8-AAA rival Coffee County.

And the Lady Lions didn’t fare much better than they had in their two league contests prior to being sidelined – giving up a goal midway through the opening half and misfiring on a series of scoring opportunities en route to a 1-0 defeat.

“We can’t finish the soccer ball,” a frustrated Central coach Greg Szydlowski said as his team’s string of scoreless matches went to three, following its 3-0 loss at Franklin County on Aug. 18 and a 4-0 defeat by Shelbyville two days later.

“We dominated the game. Scoring chances – we had probably 15. They had one opportunity, and they finished it. We can’t put the ball in the net.”

Katie Cotten scored from about 15 yards out near the 25-minute mark of the first period, knocking a low liner past Maddy Underwood, who has been pressed into action in goal.

Columbia Central junior forward Moriah “Mo” Melikian, slowed by a hip flexor injury, couldn’t help her team past visiting Coffee County in its first game after being quarantined for two weeks. The Lady Lions fell 1-0 in Thursday’s District 8-AAA matchup. (Photo by Buffy Holt)

“We got tired; we were cramping,” Szydlowski said. “We hadn’t played for 14 days. (Forward) Mo Melikian is battling a hip flexor injury. That doesn’t help.

“But in those moments, somebody has to be that finisher.”

Already fighting uphill from last year’s 4-10-2 finish, the Lady Lions were also dealing with youth and depth concerns – and that’s before the pandemic issues.

“We want to win,” the coach said. “We’re tired, we’re young in a lot of places, but we’ll never lack effort. We’ll constantly work. But when we lose one of our starting 11, we’re playing chess all night.”

Columbia Central resumes play Tuesday against visiting Centennial.

Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. E-mail: mopattonsports@gmail.com; Twitter: @mopatton_sports.

Pandemic forces pause for Columbia Central girls soccer

By Maurice Patton

Greg Szydlowski will have to wait a bit longer for his Columbia Central girls soccer team to dent the scoreboard.

After back-to-back shutouts, the Lady Lions have been shut down because of pandemic-related concerns. The team will not be allowed to practice or play again until Sept. 2 – forcing the rescheduling of District 8-AAA home matches this week against Franklin County and Lincoln County, and giving them minimal preparation for a Sept. 3 league contest against visiting Coffee County.

“I’ve sent them a workout,” Szydlowski said. “I’ve told them, if you don’t stick by this, and eat healthy, we’re going to go out there and it’s going to be ugly.”

The downtime presents a further challenge for a Central squad that was not without its struggles from the season’s onset. Coming off a 4-10-2 finish a year ago, an already inexperienced roster took a hit with the loss of senior goalkeeper Maddie Fraser for academic reasons.

“We had to put (defender Maddy Underwood) in goal, and she’d never played a lick of goal,” Szydlowski said. “Some of the goals have been very poor, but that’s not been her fault.

“Our starting 11 can compete, but if we lose one, it’s going to be tough.”

Following a 3-0 loss at Franklin County on Aug. 18, Central dropped a 4-0 decision to Shelbyville last week. After that second defeat, word came down that the program had been exposed to the coronavirus.

“Any time there’s a COVIID situation that impacts a program, you feel for the kids, the coaches, the parents,” Maury County Public Schools athletics director Chris Poynter said. “We’ve had three programs affected since June. We feel fortunate it’s not been more. But health and safety have to be the No. 1 priority when approaching this, making sure we execute the established protocols and guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

The Lady Lions’ home game against Lincoln County has been reset for Sept. 10, with the Franklin County contest now planned for Sept. 19.

“Right now, we’re just waiting,” Szydlowski said. “(But) the girls’ attitudes have been a lot of fun.”

Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. E-mail: mopattonsports@gmail.com; Twitter: @mopatton_sports.

Watching, waiting, hoping: Questions still surround start of upcoming season

By Maurice Patton

As high school coaches from one end of the state to the other await Governor Bill Lee’s signature on Executive Order 55 – announced Tuesday to allow football and girls soccer, previously classified as “high-risk contact sports”, to go on as scheduled in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic under Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association guidelines – other COVID-related concerns continue to reveal themselves.

A day after Lee’s announcement, a group representing Nashville’s public health community, Metro Nashville Public Schools and Davidson County’s private schools encouraged a moratorium on all sports until after Labor Day.

Such an action would disrupt cross country, golf and volleyball regular-season play — in addition to football and girls soccer — involving as many as 36 schools within the county, until at least Sept. 8.

“We’re kinda between a rock and hard place,” veteran Maplewood football coach Arcentae Broome said this week. “Everybody in the surrounding counties, they don’t have the same situation we have in Davidson County. We’re in a hot spot right now.

“You can only do what you can do, but it’s going to be challenging for everybody.”

Maplewood’s situation is of particular interest to Spring Hill, as the two are Region 4-4A participants. The Raiders are currently scheduled to host their Oct. 2 matchup – and with limited attendance already being recommended for the season, the potential of having a game completely eliminated from the schedule is less than appealing.

After traveling to Stratford last October, Columbia Central is scheduled to entertain the Spartans for homecoming this season. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, though, there are discussions of Metro Nashville Public Schools — including Stratford and Maplewood, which is set to play at Spring Hill as well — not participating in fall sports competition until after Labor Day. (Photo by Ric Beu)

“We’ve heard everything from Metro Nashville not playing to having travel restrictions,” Spring Hill coach Ben Martin said. “We’ve tried to talk as region coaches throughout the process, and we’ve all agreed that we don’t know what we don’t know.

“It concerns me. (Home games) are precious commodities.”

Columbia Central has two Metro opponents for the upcoming season, with a road trip to Overton set for Sept. 11 before a homecoming contest against Stratford on Oct. 23.

While neither is a region game, Central coach Jason Hoath would hate to miss either opportunity.

“We’re going to be hopeful that they can play, for those kids’ sake and for our sake,” Hoath said. “At least one of them is an away game, but losing a home game, especially this year, will hurt (financially).”

Stratford coach Thomas Porter applauded the MNPS administration for its leadership to this point, but admitted there’s still a lot to be settled.

“We’re still trying to figure out all the details for making sure we’re keeping our kids as safe as possible,” Porter said. “We’re going to be starting school virtually. I don’t know how that’s going to work with athletics. We’re just going to roll with the punches.”

If Davidson County’s schools were to miss the first three weeks of the football season, Independence’s Week 2 trip to Christ Presbyterian Academy would be affected. Few other area programs would be impacted in the early going, as Columbia Academy does not begin Division II-A West Region play until Week 4.

According to TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress, any game not played as a result of the pandemic will be immediately entered as a “no contest”. If it is not made up by the end of the season, the team that was able to play will be credited with a win to help determine playoff positioning.

“We’re not going to penalize a team for the pandemic,” he said, referring to a decision made by the Board of Control during its July 22 meeting. “But it’s only fair that the team that can play gets a win, for seeding purposes.”

Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. E-mail: mopattonsports@gmail.com; Twitter: @mopatton_sports.

Prep football, girls soccer on schedule for mid-August start

By Maurice Patton

With Governor Bill Lee announcing during a Tuesday press conference that he will sign an executive order and allow Tennessee high school football and girls soccer to begin regular-season play as originally scheduled, the work doesn’t end.

“What people don’t need to do now is relax,” Bernard Childress, executive director of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, said regarding the exemption Lee issued in light of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, Lee’s COVID-19 State of Emergency executive order categorized high school football and girls soccer as high-risk contact sports and limited their activities, while allowing similar sports at the collegiate and professional levels to continue, within the guidelines set by their governing bodies.

Landen Secrest (22), his Spring Hill teammates and football and girls soccer players across Tennessee can begin working toward a mid-August start to their seasons, after Governor Bill Lee announced Tuesday he will sign an executive order allowing high-risk contact sports at the high school level to take place. (Photo by Ric Beu)

At that time, Childress expressed a commitment to work with the Governor’s Task Force to convince that group that the TSSAA could come up with a set of guidelines that would “mitigate” the risks of competition and allow those student-athletes – after seeing Division I basketball and spring sports end early — to have their seasons.

“We’re able to do things as planned, but I don’t think we’d have been able to do things as planned without working with their team and letting them know we’re going to do all we can to mitigate risks around practice and games,” Childress said.

During last week’s TSSAA Board of Control meeting, regulations were adapted for the 2020-21 school year in an effort to keep all participants as safe as possible.

“(Lee) released us because of the work that’s been done and the promises that have been made and the guidelines that have been set,” Childress said. “We’ve got to do them now.”

Officials at the local level are hyper-aware of their responsibilities along those lines.

“We definitely are appreciative of Mr. Childress and the TSSAA for all their hard work and leadership,” Columbia Academy athletics director Pernell Knox said. “This is great for our seniors. I remember seeing our seniors in the spring and how devastated they were, and we definitely didn’t want to go through that again, so this is great for all involved.

“Now is where it gets tricky. We have to do an even better job of making sure our coaches and kids are doing what they need to do as far as following protocols and everything we can to keep not only our kids safe, but our opponents safe as well.”

Once Lee signs the executive order – within the next 24 hours, Childress said Tuesday – football and girls soccer programs can begin preparations for beginning regular-season play the week of Aug. 17.

Football teams were allowed to begin the heat acclimatization process last week. All players must spend two days of practice in helmets only and three in helmets and shoulder pads before going in full gear. The football postseason will begin Nov. 6, with the BlueCross Bowl state championships set for Dec. 3-5 at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium in Cookeville.

Girls soccer state tournament play is scheduled for Oct. 28-31 in Murfreesboro.

Cross country, golf and volleyball were unaffected by the initial executive order.

“It’s exciting for the kids, for the coaches, for everyone involved,” Maury County Public Schools AD Chris Poynter said. “There’s still a lot of questions (about) what it will look like fully implemented. But we appreciate those parameters and protocols we have to execute.”

Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. He can be reached by e-mail at mopattonsports@gmail.com or on Twitter at @mopatton_sports.