Buford’s girls soccer team knew heading into the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs that Blessed Trinity would be one of the biggest challenges standing in the way, but that didn’t deter the team from peppering the net with shots and leaving everything on the field.
It wasn’t enough, though, as the second-ranked Lady Wolves fell to the third-ranked Lady Titans 3-1 on Wednesday in Buford.
“We really battled and really fought,” Buford coach Crystal Fowler said. “The girls gave everything that they had, everybody on the team across the board, from the girls on the bench to the ones on the field, everyone was just putting their whole heart into it.
“I’m very proud of them.”
Blessed Trinity got off to a quick start with a goal from Angela Bringmann in the third minute of the game, but the Lady Wolves equalized the score with a goal by Elexa Bahr off a corner kick, assisted by Tara Dambach, midway through the first half.
The game stayed tight and physical through the first and into the second, as both teams found holes and had ample scoring chances. Buford, however, couldn’t find a way to reach the back of the net.
“We were just unlucky tonight,” Fowler said. “Their coach told me after the game, ‘Coach, y’all had us. We were just trying to weather the storm, try to make it through.’ We just couldn’t get the cover off the goal.”
The Lady Wolves didn’t shy away from shooting throughout the game.
After Blessed Trinity went up 2-1 on a corner kick goal from Caroline Cox in the 57th minute, Bahr was stopped at point blank range by Meredith Carson in the Titans’ goal.
“Their goalie, she is solid and we knew that coming in,” Fowler said. “The stops that they made, the good things the rest of the team did, they get in your head after a little bit and you start questioning yourself, what you’re doing with the ball and that sort of thing.”
Lady Wolves’ goalkeeper Lane Crawford made multiple game-changing saves to give her team a chance to equalize, but the shots simply didn’t go Buford’s way.
Blessed Trinity sealed the win with a breakaway goal from Caroline Crain in the 73rd minute.
“I think I’m usually playing mentally strong, but going down by two right at the end, I feel like I put most of the burden of that on me,” said senior captain Jessi Vaverka. “I felt like I let my team down when I came out of the game.”
Although the Titans’ defense was stout, Fowler feels like the Lady Wolves played well and pushed through difficult situations despite not being able to do exactly what they wanted.
“Our combination plays and things like that just didn’t come together tonight,” Fowler said. “They were so quick that we had a hard time keeping the ball and taking care of the ball. We knew that they would be good and get in passing lanes and mix things up with us.”
Vaverka feels that although Buford’s season is complete, the game is still representative of the team’s mindset and attitude, and she hopes it carries on to future teams.
“Tonight just wasn’t our night,” she said. “We fought to the end, and I’m really proud of us. I feel like that’s just the Buford way, just never give up.”
Blessed Trinity plays host to Pike County in the Class AAA quarterfinals on Saturday in Roswell. Buford finishes the season with a 15-4 record.