The Enterprise Lady Cats battled Oak Mountain in the Class 7A State Soccer Championship on May 8 before falling 5-0 to finish as runner-up.
The Lady Cats join the Wildcats basketball team as EHS athletics programs that earned runner-up – both against Oak Mountain – during the 2021 athletic season.
In the semifinals on May 7, Enterprise battled Smiths Station to a 1-1 regulation tie before facing off in two overtime periods and a final shootout to earn their spot in the state championship.
During the shootout, Enterprise goalkeeper Lizzie Joresky earned three saves and gave up just one goal. Lady Cat players Summer Burress, Ashlyn Purvis, Emma Avery and Bailey Jackson all then made their free kicks to give the Lady Cats the 4-1 shootout win and ultimate 2-1 win in the semifinals.
Sydney Garth earned Enterprise’s only goal during regulation. Joresky earned three saves during the regulation and overtime periods. Also, Madilyn Webb had 11 steals and Purvis had nine steals. Ines Von Mahland had 10 steals, Kianna Lezcano had eight steals and Jaden Boland had seven steals.
“Smiths Station played very defensively against us since we won over them 8-3 earlier in April,” Enterprise coach Jill Harrelson said. “The goal keeper made some great saves and we never really settled in and played our offensive attack.
“When it came down to the shootout we had done our homework on scouting their (penalty kick_ lineup and it paid off. In a previous shootout with Auburn all of their kicks shot to our keepers right. I told Lizzy to drive right and it paid off, she made a great save by their first kicker in penalty kicks. As far as we go, we practice and chart penalty kicks usually two times a week at practice and that is how we make our penalty kick lineup. I’m so very proud of these young ladies and their effort to win this game and put us playing in the championship game against Oak Mountain.”
Enterprise was never able to get on track in the championship game as Oak Mountain cruised to a 5-0 win. Oak Mountain’s Kierson McDonald scored three goals and Kaitlyn Maynard scored two.
Enterprise was led defensively by Webb with nine steals and Purvis with 10 steals, while Madeline Holmes had five steals, Kianna Lezcano had five steals and Joresky had seven saves at goal keeper. Also, seventh grader Lauren Kinney had two saves at goal keeper.
“Oak Mountain was a very big and physical team,” Harrelson said. “We played with them defensively all over the field but we could not score with our offensive attack.
“We had trouble connecting more than three or four passes in a row and four of Oak Mountain were on set pieces. Their No. 17 was deadly accurate on her free kicks.”
The runner-up finish is the highest finish for the Lady Cats in school history and just the second time in school history they have made it to the Final Four.
“I’m so, so proud of our girls for making school history,” Harrelson emphasized. “We’re the first girls soccer team to make to the finals. We have faced a lot of adversity this season, starting senior goalie out for the season only 22 minutes into our first game of the season. We had another senior Hope Yerdon who missed about a third of the season with a knee injury. This group of 10 seniors and six underclassmen have played together for many years. They love each other and they love the game of soccer. This team practices and plays week in and week out with extreme effort and passion. Our team was also very blessed to have Miranda Rauenhorst as our assistant coach this season. She brought a wealth of soccer knowledge and enthusiasm with her to practice daily.”
Harrelson also revealed that she would be stepping down following this season.
“This group of girls knows how to take a coach out in style,” she said. “2021 7A Girls Soccer State Runner-Up after coaching multiple varsity and JV sports over the past 29 years, I am going to hang my whistle up and go watch my son play baseball. My family has been a big supporter of my coaching throughout the years and I have made some wonderful memories coaching and I have loved every minute of it.”