The varsity Gilmer High School soccer teams saw differing outcomes in their season finale last night, a home region match against Ridgeland.
The Lady Cats offense exploded for an 8-2 victory, while the Bobcats dropped a hard-fought 2-1 affair.
In the girls match, both Rosio Landaverde and Autumn Durham garnered three goals each. Chayce Durden and Kate Schiesser contributed one goal each in the second half to give the Gilmer girls a high note to end a challenging season on.
“This season brought a lot of adversity,” said GHS Lady Cats head coach April Nicholson. “We ended up with a season loaded down with road games. We had some injuries that plagued us during some key points in the season and we had a lot of bad luck. But overall, the girls stayed headstrong and resilient and we ended the season on a really good note. We went 4-1 after coming back from spring break and I’ll take those numbers all day long. We played Ridgeland pretty closely for the first quarter of the game and it made for an exciting but stressful start. The girls really turned it up, though. They wanted this win and I am very proud of what they did. It is our estimation that this group of senior girls is the most winning group on record- 21 career wins. They were freshman my first year coaching, so it has been a great joy and a humble honor to watch them grow and change over four years.”
The big finish the Lady Cats manufactured at the end of the year left the Gilmer girls with a 6-9 (2-5 in region play) record for the season.
Ridgeland secured the only first half goal of the boys match, with 18:55 remaining before the break. Jon Bremm tied the game 1-1 with the same amount of time left in the second half, before a Panther response four minutes later put GHS behind 2-1. The Bobcats failed to find the inside of the goal once more before the end of regulation, giving Ridgeland the victory.
Speaking on the varsity finale, head Bobcats coach Simon Phipps said, “It was a close game. The boys started very slowly and conceded a goal in the first half. They came out and played better in the second half and really well in the last 15 minutes. But by then it was too late. Chasing a game is never easy and Ridgeland defended their lead well.”
Phipps also added his sentiments on the season as a whole. “I had two goals at the start of the year for the boys: qualify for the state playoffs and win the Pickens tournament,” Phipps said. “We got close with the first one. The games this year in region play were a lot closer than last year and we are definitely moving in the right direction. As for the second, we beat Pickens at Pickens in the tournament and things seldom get better than that, there was no outright winner of the tournament as Pickens, Fannin and us all won one game each. We have come a long way this year. This season has been a really difficult for the boys and the coaches. Not having a home field and not having a consistent place to practice has made things hard. Playing most of the games on the road did not make things easy. The boys got very travel-tired, especially when we had three or four games in a week. But I have been really pleased with the progress we have made this year. There is a real soccer buzz around the high school, as lots of boys have been really interested in what is going on and they want to play every game.”
The varsity Bobcats finish the season with a 6-8-1 (2-5 in region play) record.
The JV Bobcats will combat with Pickens one more time to conclude the season, heading to Jasper Middle School tomorrow for a 5 p.m. kickoff. The JV Bobcats currently sit at 3-3. The JV Lady Cats season has already ended, with the JV girls boasting a 2-2 record over the 2016 campaign.
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