MURFREESBORO — Defense often gets overlooked.
Clarksville girls soccer coach Jeff Jordan never had a doubt about his team’s ability to stop its opponents. He’s had to rely on it the better part of a month. And that defense came up big in the postseason.
That defense helped Clarksville beat Franklin 1-0 Saturday at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex to help the Lady Wildcats capture their second TSSAA Class AAA state championship in three years. The title came in the Lady Wildcats’ third consecutive state championship appearance.
“Defense is what wins you championships,” Jordan said. “I’m a firm believer in that. Offense is great and you need goals, but sometimes those goals take time to come. If no one can score on you, you’re always in the game.”
Clarksville freshman Destiny Hill scored the game winner in the 18th minute of the game for her first goal of the tournament. It also settled down a team that lost 1-0 to Franklin earlier this season.
“I was so happy to finally get a goal,” Hill said. “I guess maybe I had been saving it for this championship game.”
Clarksville outscored its three state tournament opponents a combined 4-0.
Led by goalkeeper Ann-Heidi Utsi, a foreign exchange student from Norway, Clarksville (23-3-1) pushed back Franklin’s scoring opportunities, particularly in the second half as Franklin put pressure on Clarksville’s defense.
“I like that kind of game,” Franklin coach Mike Burgoyne said of the physical style. “There were some plays we thought were fouls and some (Clarksville) thought were fouls. But that’s just how the game works. I much rather have a physical game then the officials calling it too tight.”
Franklin (17-2-2) entered the state title game undefeated with star forward Peyton DePriest, a Middle Tennessee State commitment, in the lineup. However, it could not solve Clarksville’s defensive scheme.
“It was a great accomplishment getting this far, but I know they’re not satisfied with this,” Burgoyne said. “We’re disappointed”
Reach George Robinson at 931-245-0747 and on Twitter @Cville_Sports.
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