HENDERSONVILLE The fourth time wasn’t the charm.
Despite heavy offensive pressure throughout much of the second half, the Hendersonville High girls soccer team fell short in its bid for the Region 5-AAA title, suffering a 2-1 loss to visiting Clarksville on Wednesday evening at Drakes Creek Park’s Field of Dreams.
The Lady Wildcats (15-4) won the region championship for the fourth consecutive season, defeating the Lady Commandos (14-5-3) in every instance.
“I’m proud of our girls and proud of what they did,” Hendersonville head coach Russ Plummer said. “We’d like the ‘W,’ but at the same time, we go on the road Saturday and we’ll have to see what happens.”
The match was originally scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., but Clarksville’s team bus was involved in a minor accident on Interstate 65 approximately a mile from the Vietnam Veterans Boulevard exit on the way to the match. No one was injured in the accident, which resulted in the match being delayed by 30 minutes.
Hendersonville controlled play for most of the match, but fell victim to a pair of midfield errors that led directly to both Clarksville goals.
Gybson Roth gave the Lady Wildcats the lead with 11 minutes left in the first half, and Salera Jordan doubled the lead less than six minutes into the second half.
Sophomore Brooke Long ran onto a long ball from junior Sydney Cason and beat Clarksville goalkeeper Melia Correa to the loose ball, tapping a roller inside the left post with 20:54 to play.
“I thought we came out real strong in the second half,” Plummer said. “I thought we created some good opportunities, not just the one we scored.”
Correa was injured on the play, helped off the field and did not return.
Kelsey Greiff took over in goal and almost immediately gave up the tying goal, as a misplay at the six-yard box resulted in a rebound and a wild scramble for the loose ball, which Clarksville was able to clear out of danger before any Lady Commando could get a shot away.
Cason appeared to have drawn a foul in the penalty area moments later, but no foul was called and play continued.
Seniors Maddie Kimler and Layne Massey had clear shot attempts midway through the second half, but both missed their target.
“You’ve got to give credit to Clarksville,” Plummer said. “They’ve had our number the last four years in the region. Coach (Jeff) Jordan does a great job with them. They’re banged up, had to put a backup keeper in and they still did what they had to do to win.”
In the final minute, Cason dribbled through traffic and toward the penalty area, where she was taken down. The play was ruled to have occurred outside of the 18-yard box instead of inside, which would have triggered a penalty kick for the Lady Commandos.
Hendersonville was unable to put another shot on goal in the final minute.
The Lady Commandos will wait on the result of Thursday’s Region 6-AAA championship match between Independence and Brentwood to determine where they will travel on Saturday.
“Unfortunately, we’ve done it before,” Plummer said of playing a sectional on the road. “We just have to figure out a way to do better at it and come away with a win. Brentwood or Independence, either one’s going to be tough.”
Clarksville – the defending Class AAA state champion – will host the loser of that match in another of eight Class AAA sectional matches to determine the state tournament participants.
Reach Chris Brooks at 615-575-7118 or on Twitter @CB_SumnerSports.