E.A. Sports Today

County soccer finals set

Donoho-Sacred Heart girls final now set for 3 p.m.; boys final between Saks, Oxford remain as scheduled

Donoho’s Lily Wiedmer (9) split the Oxford defense and scored 37 seconds into their semifinal match Friday. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

Boys Semifinals
No. 1 Saks 3, No. 4 Donoho 2
No. 3 Oxford 4, No. 2 Jacksonville 0
Girls Semifinals
No. 1 Donoho 2, No. 5 Oxford 0
No. 3 Sacred Heart 4, No. 2 Jacksonville 1
Saturday’s Games
Girls Championship: Donoho vs. Sacred Heart, 3 p.m. (F1)
Boys Championship: Saks vs. Oxford, 6 p.m. (F1)

To view a photo gallery from the day’s games visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Donoho girls soccer coach Jay Jenkins left Choccolocco Park Friday evening not exactly sure what time his team was going to play in the Calhoun County Soccer Tournament final the next day.

One thing he did know, though, was whatever time the Lady Falcons were going to play, they would do it with however many players they have available at the time.

The undefeated defending champion Lady Falcons made it back to the title game with a 2-0 victory over upstart Oxford.

The big concern after the game was when the title match against Sacred Heart would be played. It was originally scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday, but Jenkins was hoping to get it moved up so five of his players, including keeper Maggie Wakefield, would be able to make the 5 p.m. actors call for the school’s production of “The Little Mermaid.”

“We’ll play with the 11 we’ve got; that’s who we are,” Jenkins said after the game. “We’ve got some girls who won’t be denied. I’ve got a lot of girls who would do whatever it takes to win the game.”

Sacred Heart coach Caitlin Perkins was amenable for the game to be moved. The Lady Cardinals will need a similar favor from Donoho later this season.

“It’s petty not to,” Perkins said. “If it was going to mean I’d have to lose half my team I might think different, but if it’s not going to keep my players from being here I don’t see why changing the time would effect us. You’re here at 2, you’re here at 4, you’re here to play, it doesn’t matter.”

Oxford coach and acting tournament director Aaron Barrett discussed the situation with vacationing Oxford athletics director Larry Davidson at the end of the semifinals session and said at the time the games would remain as scheduled, but a few hours later officials confirmed the game would be played at 3 p.m. The boys championship game between Oxford and top-seeded Saks will remain at 6 p.m.

“Sacred Heart was quick to agree and it was really just a matter of getting officials and park admin to say yes,” Jenkins said. “We are thankful to still be playing and hopeful for a good day tomorrow.”

The Lady Falcons (8-0-0) jumped out front in the first minute and their strong defensive focus protected the lead the rest of the day. Speedy Lily Wiedmer scored her seventh goal of the tournament – and 24th of the season – 37 seconds into the match when she split the center backs and found the back of the net. They got an own goal off a preempted Wiedmer cross to Whitney Seals on the back post midway through the second half.

“It was quick,” she said of the first goal. “I didn’t think it was going to happen like that.”

Sacred Heart a surprise finalist

Angel Nguyen (14) scored three goals to lead Sacred Heart to an upset of second-seeded Jacksonville. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

The Lady Cardinals had so much to overcome in their semifinal matchup with Jacksonville, coach Caitlin Perkins said winning the game and reaching the finals “came out of left field.”

They were missing three starters, had players in new positions, had never beaten the Golden Eagles before and “had no idea what to expect,” but there they were, walking off the pitch with a 4-1 victory and into the finals against area rival Donoho.

“Us winning this game is complete surprise,” Perkins said. “The girls worked really well. I don’t know if it was because it was a change in formation – they kind of had to focus more because they were playing different spots – but they really pulled together and did a great job today.”

The Lady Cardinals were missing left midfielder Sophia Allen and ailing Iemyiah Harris and Parker Donovits. Allen isn’t expected to be back for Saturday’s final, and the status of Harris and Donovits is uncertain.

Among those stepping up to pick up the slack Friday were Tosin Sanusi, Alyssa Bell, Kay Middlebrook and junior right fullback Presley Donovits, who was playing for the first time and, the way Perkins saw it, “killed it.”

Angel Nguyen scored a hat trick for the Lady Cardinals and keeper Jacque Beyerle made 13 saves. Deborah Greene scored their other goal.

“This is very exciting, I’m not going to lie; we didn’t expect it,” Perkins said. “We figured we’d get to this point and kind of expected Jacksonville to blow us out of the water. This is where we got to last year and we lost, so they’re real excited for this to be the second county tournament and to go to the final. It’s fun.”

Oxford taking ‘what we do’ into finals

Oxford’s Miseal Reyes (11) slips behind the Jacksonville keeper for another of his three goals Friday. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

Miseal Reyes scored three goals to lead Oxford past Jacksonville 4-0 and into the boys championship game for a shot to grab the title that eluded it a year ago.

The Yellow Jackets fell in last year’s final 5-2 to Donoho. They were missing several players that day for religious reasons, but with Saturday’s game being played after sundown Saturday they are expected to have the full complement for top-seeded Saks.

“They definite remember the final last year and they’re definitely making sure that’s not going to happen,” Oxford coach Aaron Barrett said. “We do have a really good team and honestly our boys deserve this championship. Not that other teams don’t, but the way that we’re playing and the attitude that they’ve shown from adversity is really making us a better team. It’s really good since we’re going to be making our playoff run now.”

The Jackets scored all of their goals in the first half. In addition to Reyes’ hat trick, Sergio Ruedas lit the lamp. Zane Barbaro had three assists and Alex Hernandez had one.

“We had a rough first half of the season,” Barrett said. “We changed some stuff up in the second half and things are really working out for us. We’re playing the best soccer we’ve got right now.”

Saks and Oxford have split two meetings previously this season. Saks won the first match 3-1, a result that has really spurred the Yellow Jackets to action. Oxford won the rematch 5-0.

Saks lives up to billing

Corey Watkins (1) scored Saks’ first two goals against Donoho. Both of his goals gave the top-seeded Wildcats the lead. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)



In the most intense game of the day, Saks lived up to its No. 1 seed by holding off a game Donoho team 3-2 to reach the tournament finals.

Gersain Ortiz scored what proved to be the game-winner late in the second half after Corey Watkins scored the Wildcats’ first two goals. Watkins’ second goal broke the tension of a 1-1 tie with less than 15 minutes to play; he punctuated the score with a trademark backflip that earned him a yellow card.

Watkins scored the game’s first goal on a header from about 10 yards out at the 22:40 mark of the first half. Donoho’s Mack Love got the equalizer with 10 minutes left in the first half.

It remained tied until Watkins’ second goal and Ortiz made it 3-1 a few minutes later. Blake Steed made it 3-2 not long after that, but Roilan Torres kept the Falcons out of the net the rest of the way.

“These guys have worked their butts off, honestly,” Saks coach Lamus McCombs said. “We’re just blessed. We have had a major injury to our goal keeper, we had to move people around, find who fits the best with what we have now. The way we’re playing now, no, I’m not surprised (the 7-3 Wildcats are in the final).”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login