E.A. Sports Today

D for dynasty

Donoho wins third straight county girls soccer title; Turley, a seventh-grader, named MVP

Donoho’s Erin Turley sets up for a penalty kick in the first half. The seventh-grader scored a goal 45 seconds into the match and later became the youngest MVP of the Calhoun County girls soccer tournament. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
OXFORD – Emma Burk Owsley told her prom date to go on ahead and start without her; she’d catch up. There was a little bit of business she had to take care of first.
The Donoho senior stopper had a date to the Faith Christian prom Saturday night, but before any dinner and dancing and memories she and her Donoho soccer teammates had a date with destiny.
First thing on her weekend dance card was helping the Lady Falcons take down top-seeded Sacred Heart 5-1 to complete a third straight Calhoun County girls soccer title.
“I would choose my team over everybody,” she said. “I had the best time of my life and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“He definitely understood. He was so supportive of all this. He said his teacher could lead him out. I think (the prom) is going to be a lot of fun and I’m going to be really happy that I was able to contribute with my team to win and also just to go have fun. There are no regrets.”
No team not named Donoho has ever won the county girls soccer title since the tournament’s inception. The Lady Falcons did give up their first goal in three years of the event in the first half, but they answered it less than a minute later and again four minutes after that to take a 4-1 halftime lead.
This “really unexpected” championship surprised coach Jay Jenkins, though, because of his team’s youth. Ten of its 16 players are freshmen or younger – including tournament MVP Erin Turley, a seventh-grader. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year; instead, the Lady Falcons haven’t missed a beat.
“We played really beautifully today against a really good team,” Jenkins said. “I’m super proud of these girls. I can’t believe that we managed to do this three years in a row. It’s incredible. I really saw this as a rebuilding year. We reloaded, we didn’t rebuild.
“It was unexpected at the beginning of the season, really unexpected. There is some real joy in it having kind of didn’t see it coming. I felt like this year was going to be a struggle and here we sit 8-1 … Our future is bright for us.”
Turley scored the first goal of the game when she floated a shot over Sacred Heart keeper Evie Beyerle 45 seconds into the match. Jenna Stremmel and Kathleen Seals each scored twice. Turley had two goals and five assists in the semifinals. Seals scored nine goals in the tournament.
Deborah Greene scored the first goal against Donoho in nine county tournament games when she tucked in a rebound after Falcons freshman keeper Maggie Wakefield left the crease to play a ball.
Turley was as surprised to be named MVP as Jenkins was to win the tournament. She came to Donoho only this year and although she is accomplished on the club scene she didn’t have many expectations of playing. She had three goals and six assists in the first two tournament games.
“I think it’s because of the hard work that I put in.” she said. “A lot of the players told me I really persevered throughout the game and they were proud of how tough I’ve been working.”
Sacred Heart, meanwhile, was missing its best player, forward Abbie Vingers, to a different prom commitment, but coach Arnaldo Ostolaza wouldn’t use that as an excuse for his team’s showing. The Lady Falcons were missing a key defender as well.
“We win as a team, it was a team loss; one person doesn’t make a team,” Ostolaza said. “Our team didn’t show up like theirs did.”
Jenkins made an effort to move up the game to avoid any conflicts, but just never made the right connections.
“It feels good to beat a really good team, and they are a really good team, He said. “With or without Abbie they are a really good team.” 

Donoho’s Jenna Stremmel (20) celebrates one of her two first-half goals in Saturday’s championship match. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

Kathleen Seals, Donoho
Jenna Stremmel, Donoho
Whitney Seals, Donoho
Andrea Torres, Sacred Heart
Angel Nguyen, Sacred Heart
Emma Cockrell, Jacksonville
Crystal Varner, Saks
Caleigh Cortez, Weaver
Grace Kochie, Faith Christian
Deinnah Isaac, Oxford
Outstanding offensive player: Angel Nguyen, Sacred Heart
Outstanding defensive player: Emma Burk Owsley, Donoho
Most valuable player: Erin Turley, Donoho

Donoho’s Emma Burk Owsley (4) backs up teammate Savannah Frickey’s challenge in the Lady Falcons’ defensive end. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

To see more photos from the match visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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