Oakland found a way to score on Siegel on Thursday night.
Tonight, the Lady Patriots play at home with an opportunity to punch their tickets to next week’s TSSAA Class AAA state tournament.
Oakland hosts Warren County at 6 p.m. today at Ray Hughes Stadium in a Class AAA girls soccer sectional. Rival Siegel plays at 7 p.m. today at Cookeville in its sectional.
All sectional winners advance to the state tournament, which begins Wednesday at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex.
Oakland defeated Siegel 1-0 in the Region 4-AAA final, thanks in part to goalkeeper Emma Grace Goldman, the District 7-AAA Goalkeeper of the Year. Goldman made numerous saves for the Lady Patriots.
The win over the Lady Stars was Oakland’s first since the 2011 season.
“The win (Thursday) gives us a lot of confidence,” Oakland coach Jeff Boynton said. “To be able to play at home and not have to travel gives us a bit of an advantage. The familiarity of the school and the field is an advantage.”
Oakland last hosted a sectional in 2010 when the Lady Patriots defeated Cleveland to reach the state tournament.
Both Oakland and Siegel may have another advantage today. Cookeville and Warren County may be playing in their respective sectionals without one of their top players.
Cookeville’s leading scorer Paige Beaulieu and Warren County defender Taylor Mullican were issued red cards during Thursday’s Region 3-AAA championship after the two got tangled up with less than a minute remaining. Cookeville won the Region 3-AAA title 2-1.
A red card serves as an ejection from the remainder of the game it is issued in, as well as the next contest. But the schools are able to appeal that suggestion.
TSSAA assistant director Mark Reeves said Friday that a decision was made on those appeals, but said the high school association could not comment on the decision, deferring comment to the high schools.
With or without Beaulieu, Cookeville has talented personnel, including Tennessee Tech commitments Abby Collins and McKenzie McCloud.
“They have dangerous threats at the top that are still available,” Siegel coach Eric Shelton said. “They have a couple good center midfielders.”
Shelton said playing at Cookeville is also a challenge. The field is a little shorter than most, and the Lady Cavaliers normally have a big crowd.
“They have one of the toughest venues to play,” he said. “It’s always loud there.”