The Oakland Middle School soccer team celebrates Oct. 2, 2013, after winning the Rutherford County championship title over Blackman in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photo courtesy of B. Zimmerman)
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Another Rutherford County Middle School championship has gone to Oakland Middle School.
The Oakland Lady Charger soccer team won the 2013 title 3-1 over Blackman Middle on Wednesday at Stewarts Creek Middle School. It is the first title this season for the sports program, which in its short time has already made a habit of winning championships.
The Lady Chargers came into this tournament as the No. 2 seed with a regular season record of 8-1-1, while the Lady Flames were the No. 5 seed with a 6-3-1 mark.
However, Blackman upset two higher seed teams, including top seed Siegel Middle en route to the title game. However, Oakland took control early and held off a furious Lady Flame rally in the second half to win the title.
“It means a lot to us,” Oakland goalkeeper Presley Hamby said. “We worked together as a whole. It was really special for us.”
Middle School soccer matches are broken up into two 30-minute halves. The Lady Chargers scored early in the opening half when Katie Webb nailed a world class shot inside the 18-yard box past Blackman goalkeeper Elise Chessor to give Oakland a 1-0 lead.
A few minutes later, Webb added her second goal of the half with a shot from the left side, which deflected off a Blackman defender during a set piece. Those two goals by Webb gave Oakland a 2-0 lead at the halftime break.
“I was trying my best, and I guess it paid off,” Webb said.
In the second half, Blackman’s offense turned up the pressure, but Oakland’s defense was up to the challenge. Hamby made a couple of nice saves to preserve the shutout for the time being.
However, the Lady Flames cut the lead in half with a beautiful shot by Abigail Swanson as it went over Hamby’s outstretched arms with a few minutes left in the game. However, the Lady Charger defense stood up to the challenge and did not allow another goal.
“Our defense did great,” Hamby said. “They are amazing and that goal did not let them get down. They just kept playing.”
Toward the end of match, Blackman started to push everyone forward trying to tie the score. However, Webb took control of the ball and made a deep pass to Faith Adams, who stayed onside and beat the defense.
She made a long run and put the game away with a goal past Chessor with only a couple of minutes left in the match. The Lady Chargers held on to win the title.
“I think we played great,” Adams said.
Oakland head coach Sam Gorden added: “We struggled a little bit, but in the end you can not be mad. They did what they had to do. It was a battle, and everyone got to play and be a part of the championship game. That is what it is all about.”
As for the Lady Flames, it was not the result it was looking for at the end. However, head coach Norris Clark was pleased with Blackman’s magical run in the tournament.
“The girls came out and showed a lot of heart,” Clark said. “Coach (Sam) Gorden’s team is very talented and it was a hard fought game.”