Lady Bucs defeat Greeneville in AA semifinals
Story by Zacch Womble
MURFREESBORO – For the first time in school history, the Beech Lady Bucs soccer team will play for a state championship.
First-year head coach John Ferguson and the Lady Bucs defeated Greeneville in penalty kicks Thursday afternoon booking a trip to Saturday’s finale against Seymour at 11:30 a.m.
“After we got over the initial shock of how good they were, I thought we did a good job of settling in and showed some fight that we’ve learned to find within us throughout the season,” Ferguson said.
Eighty minutes of soccer was not enough to determine a winner, as both teams headed to overtime, and eventually into golden goal periods where the two teams still found themselves scoreless after 100 minutes.
“Going into extra time, every time we came back together I saw there was no nerves, there was no rawness; there was a belief that we were going to win,” Ferguson added.
The 2018 season has done a great job of preparing Beech for this game as they took part in their third extra time game in the last four matches.
“We’ve found a level of mental toughness that I’m not sure was in the program before,” Ferguson said of the fight. “That goes a long way sometimes; sometimes you have to pick a fight and hang in there as long as you can. I think we showed that this version of the Beech Buccaneers belongs in the state tournament.”
After 20 minutes of sudden death overtime, Beech won the toss to kick first in penalty kicks. Sending senior Kendra Mueller to kick first, Beech refused to be denied.
Leading 5-4 on Greeneville’s final kick, keeper Natasia Jones saved her second penalty kick, sending Beech into a frenzy as they secured the victory.
“She is a fantastic athlete that can play in the field for us as well,” Ferguson said. “We practiced with both keepers and Kendra Mueller as well at goal keeper. I let the captains decide who they wanted to play. Kendra looked me dead in the eye and said she believed in Natasia. She played so fantastic in the game, in the shootout and seeing her evaluation as a goal keeper this year has been fun.”
Beech will play Seymour in a rematch from earlier this season for the Class AA championship on Saturday.
“We gave up a late dubious free kick to lost 2-1 and I didn’t think we played well,” Ferguson said of his upcoming matchup. “Like I said I think we belong here and I think we are a team that has the mental toughness, so if we put our tactical and technical ability with that I like our chances against any team here. It will be a fun game.”
See penalty kick action here – https://twitter.com/i/status/1055567209194549250