Photo: Westbrook Christian’s Ashton Zemo (41) fends off Westminster’s Gabriella Dean during the Lady Warriors’ 5-0 loss in the Class 4A state soccer semifinals on Friday, May 12 in Huntsville. (Courtesy of Average Joe’s Sports Talk)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
The Westbrook Christian girls soccer team’s season ended in the Class 4A state semifinals on Friday, May 12 with a 5-0 loss to Westminster Christian at John Hunt Park in Huntsville.
The Lady Warriors (15-5-1) were very much in the game during the first half. The match went scoreless for 35 minutes until AnnLi Weekely scored the first of her four goals on the night, sending Westbrook into the break down 1-0.
“I think that [goal] shocked [Westminster] as much as it shocked us,” said Westbrook head coach Jody Keene. “We had an opportunity early on to swing the game in another direction, and for whatever reason, we weren’t able to get the ball in the back of the net.”
Weekely found the net a minute and six seconds into the second half, a score that Keene admitted took the wind out of his team’s sails.
“I think that started to break the girls’ spirits a little bit, and things started to go downhill from that point,” he said. “We kind of wore ourselves out trying to stay in the fight. We definitely should have paid much more attention to [Weekley].”
Keene appreciated the leadership of seniors Ella Keene, Aislyn Godfrey, Anna Kilgo, Makiyah Underwood, Allie Blevins and Sarah Guffey.
“The way they connected with one another and the leadership they carried was pretty special,” he said. “To watch how they carried themselves on and off the field was absolutely amazing.”
Keene noted that the seniors did far more than lead by example.
“They would shout at their teammates if they saw something that needed to be corrected. Their teammates understood that it wasn’t about them being chewed out; it was about love and respect and encouraging and pushing the team to be better. Including myself, those six seniors gave us seven coaches on the field at all times. They were always helping the younger girls understand how to be more effective.”
Ella Keene took three shots against Westminster, followed by A.G. Whittemoore with two.
“It’s been an amazing journey, and one for the most part that I believe they all enjoyed,” said Westbrook head coach Jody Keene. “This past season was all about setting a standard and playing to that standard and not accepting anything less than that. We’ve got great athletes all around coming back, so I expect us to be competitive next year. What will be interesting to see is where the leadership will come from and how it will impact the team.”