No one has to tell the Oakland girls soccer team how talented its opponent is in today’s Class AAA state quarterfinal.
The Lady Patriots already know it.
Oakland (18-4-1) plays nationally-ranked Houston (20-0-1) at 2:30 p.m. today at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in the TSSAA Girls Soccer State Tournament. It marks the Lady Patriots’ second state tournament appearance in four seasons. Houston is ranked third nationally and was ranked as high as No. 1 at one point this season.
“I think going into it, I think it is that David versus Goliath situation,” Oakland coach Jeff Boynton said. “But, I do know we’ll play hard. We’ve got some plans to kind of counter how good they are with the ball. We’ll like to try and take it one half at a time.”
Oakland defeated Warren County 1-0 to reach the state tournament. However, several Lady Patriots said the game prior — the Region 4-AAA championship — they were underdogs against city rival Siegel. And Oakland walked away as a 1-0 winner and region champion.
Pull out a win over Houston and the entire state as well as the country will know about the Lady Patriots’ program.
“We’re hear to fight to show what level we can play at,” Oakland’s Madeline Rose said. “We want to show that this is where we can play.”
Boynton found out Sunday afternoon the Patriots’ tough draw. However, he admits there were few opponents he could draw because of TSSAA rules. State qualifiers Franklin (16-2-5) and Ravenwood (12-1-4) are forced to be in opposite brackets because they are in the same district. TSSAA rules stipulate that two teams from either the same district or region cannot meet until the state final.
Qualifiers Houston and Collierville are also from the same district.
But from the get go, the Lady Patriots have refused to lie down against Houston.
“We were the underdog even for the Siegel game,” Rose said. “Everyone at school, people didn’t think we would win.
“It’s good to show people, because everyone is excited.”
Sophomore A.B. Hawkins leads the Lady Patriots with 13 goals and 10 assists. Rose has six goals and eight assists. Brianna Sears has eight assists with four goals.
Reaching the state tournament has helped validate their success this season.
“This just shows all of our hard work has paid off,” Maddie Watson said.
And now they get to show off that hard work against one of the best in the nation.