WHITE HOUSE The White House High girls soccer program flirted with a trip to the state tournament on Saturday evening.
However, for the third consecutive season, the Lady Devils suffered a heartbreaking outcome in the end, dropping a 4-3 sectional match to visiting Page in a contest decided by a penalty-kick shootout.
“It’s (disappointing), because we are so much of a team,” White House sophomore forward Madisson Davis said. “We feel we deserve it more. It’s just (disappointing).”
The Lady Devils reached the state for the only time in the program’s history with a 5-1 victory at Page in a 2012 sectional but then suffered a 1-0 loss to visiting Fairview in a 2013 sectional match and a 3-2 setback at Spring Hill in a sectional that went into overtime last season.
“It can be a game of inches and the bounce of the ball,” White House head coach Mike Felzien. “We had some great opportunities where we didn’t get the bounce of the ball. That happens. You just hate to be on the receiving end.”
The Lady Patriots advanced the state tournament for the third time in the history of the program, reaching the state quarterfinals in 2009 and the state semifinals in 2010.
Page (15-6-2) faced a 3-1 deficit for more than 24 minutes in the second half.
“You can’t count us out,” Lady Patriot head coach Nate Clapp said. “We can score a lot of goals quickly. I told the girls to get one goal, and the momentum will change quickly. We got the first goal, and momentum got the second goal.”
White House freshman goalkeeper Alivia Vogel smothered a breakaway opportunity by junior Emma Sanders in the 62nd minute.
However, approximately two minutes later, Page freshman Kendal Webb gained control of a Lady Devil goal kick and fired a shot from approximately 22 yards out into the upper portion of the net.
Lady Patriot freshman goalkeeper Morgan Kalbfell made a one-handed save of a breakaway by senior forward Brittney Breedlove in the 71st minute
Six minutes later, Page freshman Hayden Collins was tripped at the top of the box, resulting in a free kick.
Sanders’ free kick bounced off of the crossbar, and the rebound was a battle among a cluster of players in front of the net. Lady Patriot senior Marisa Mancini got a shot off amidst the flurry that found the net with 2:53 remaining, forcing overtime.
“They didn’t quit,” Felzien said of Page. “At this level, you are not expecting a team to quit. They’re well-coached, and they have some talented members. They started closing that gap.”
The two teams played scoreless over the 30 minutes of overtime periods, allowing penalty kicks to decide the outcome.
Both coaches admitted to not working on penalty kicks too frequently in practice.
“To be honest, it’s not much,” Clapp said. “We’ve done some. We practice it once a week once we get in the postseason.”
Felzien added, “We go over them. We determine our top 10. After we’ve determined our top 10, we probably do two times of (practicing) five penalty kicks.”
Page shot first in the shootout, and Webb, junior Caitlyn Sutton, Sanders and sophomore Megan Henry all converted on the team’s first four penalty kicks.
Kalbfell – who began the season as the team’s third-team goalkeeper and was making just her sixth start on Saturday – stopped the first two Lady Devil penalty kicks before White House freshman midfielder Shelby Deering placed her shot into the right side of the net.
However, Henry’s penalty kick ended the match, giving her squad a 4-1 edge in the shootout with the Lady Devils having just two penalty kicks remaining.
“The way she came back was amazing to me,” Clapp said of Kalbfell. “She was a little out of position on the second and third goal.
“She adjusted well. I was so proud of her for taking coaching (at halftime).”
Henry scored just 24 seconds into the match, one-touching a cross from Sutton into the goal.
“I thought it was a lucky shot,” Davis said. “We are more of a team than they are. We wanted it more. We came out and scored (in response).”
Davis had a hat trick in the first half, taking advantage of two through-balls played by freshman midfielder Leanna Nesbitt and another by sophomore midfielder Madeline Hargrove.
“To respond in that way and end the half with a 3-1 lead, you feel good and are proud with how they responded (to the early goal),” Felzien said.
Davis added, “We work on through-balls. Sometimes, we switch and go to the outside, but it was just good through-balls.”
Davis’ final goal came with six seconds remaining in the half.
“It was big,” Davis said. “We had a lot of confidence. We had too much I guess. They came back.”
Clapp said. “Our defense made some dumb mistakes that allowed that space. We reminded them. I took one of my attacking players (Webb) who plays there (on defense) as well and put her there. It was shape, the way we were dropping … and that girl (Davis) is fast. She’s good.”
Davis received added attention in the second half.
“They double-teamed me, made sure they stopped me and (Breedlove) and not let those through-balls go through,” Davis said.
Felzien added, “They did put a little more pressure on Davis in the second half. Other than that, I don’t think they changed much on their attack. Both teams had opportunities. They made an adjustment (defensively), and we expected that and tried to counter that. We just failed to execute.”
It was the first loss for White House since suffering a 6-1 setback to visiting Harpeth Hall on Sept. 8, ending a stretch of 13 matches without a setback.
The Lady Devil program fell to 1-6 in sectional matches.
“You are proud of the team and how they have come through,” Felzien said. “I told the girls, ‘remember this feeling. We’ll be back, and we don’t want to experience this again.’”
White House concluded its season with a 15-4-3 record, a District 9 A-AA North Division championship in the regular season, a 9 A-AA Tournament championship and a Region 5 A-AA Tournament title.
The Lady Devils lose three seniors – forward Brittney Breedlove, midfielder Kayla Patt and defender Sidney West.
“We’re definitely proud of how much they’ve accomplished,” Felzien – whose squad started six freshmen, four sophomores and one senior on Saturday – said. “You hate to leave at this point of the season with such a young group. It’s something to look forward to in the next few years.”
Reach Craig Harris at 615-575-7138 or on Twitter @HarrisGNESports.
Class A-AA sectional results
Greeneville 5, Grace Christian 1
Christian Academy of Knoxville 6, Chuckey-Doak 0
Notre Dame 4, Grace Baptist 0
Chattanooga Christian 3, Boyd-Buchanan 0
Page 4, White House 3 (penalty-kick shootout)
Christ Presbyterian Academy 2, White House Heritage 1
Lexington 5, Madison Academic 0
Jackson Christian 6, Chester County 1