Friday at 2 p.m. the Harrison Lady Goblin soccer team will be meeting an old foe in the Class 4A State Soccer Meet.
Harrison will be playing Pulaski Academy in the finals, again. The schools have made a tradition of meeting late in the state tournament. This will be second time in a row that the Lady Goblins and the Lady Bruins have met in the finals. In 2019, the last year to have a state soccer tournament, Harrison defeated the Lady Bruins to take the title.
There are five seniors on the squad that remember winning the tournament and that are back to lead the Lady Goblins this year.
Harrison comes into the game with a team that rallies around each other. They are close knit.
“The team chemistry on this team is great,” is what Sydney Shrum, who was the Most Valuable Player in the 2019 tournament said. “We have played together for so long that we know each other’s tendencies on and off the field. Everyone is encouraging and no one ever complains.”
Senior Tenelle Tate agreed with Shrum.
“I like the bond that this team has,” she said. “The connection we all share is pretty amazing and I’m extremely blessed to be a part of that.”
The group have formed a special bond that has brought some fond memories.
“My favorite memory so far this season was being able to celebrate a huge win over DeQueen,” said keeper Maggie Salmon. “That win brought us one step closer to our main goal.”
Tate had some great memories as well.
“My favorite memory this year has been getting to experience being a senior to the best group of underclassmen,” she said. “It has not been without our challenges of course, but being someone they look up to is a true blessing and it’s one I wouldn’t change for the world.”
Soccer had been a great educational tool for the Lady Goblins. It has provided the seniors with opportunities.
“Soccer to me means getting to have fun and play with my teammates that I’ve grown up with,” said Kenna. “I also really enjoy the competition.”
Kaitlyn Bridges has a spin on the love of the sport.
“Soccer is very important to me,” she started. ”I’ve played since I was four and I think it is a sport everyone should at least try. I built great relationships with teammates, coaches and team parents. It takes a lot of mental and physical strength to play, but has the greatest and lasting results.
“Soccer has been the center of my life for many years,” she continued. “I am sad to see it go, but I do wish the team all of the best in the years to come.”
Facing Pulaski Academy, the Lady Goblins will have to be sharp in the contest. Shrum knows that too well.
“PA is a strong team that won over Valley View,” she said. “I think we have seen similar teams to them and have had great success. We have grown and I think that our talents will be what impacts PA’s strength the most. I would say they have some strengths where we might be weak, but our team as a whole is stronger and we are ready to leave everything on that field.”
Bridges know that the Lady Bruins are strong.
“PA is good at keeping possession and moving the ball,” she started of the opponent. “They have a few good girls up top that can be dangerous, but we have a game plan. The game will come down to who wants it more and I believe we do.”
Salmon summed up the key to beating Pulaski Academy.
“The key to beating PA is being solid defensively and making sure we key in on our roles and playing our game,” she said.
Team members of the Lady Goblins include: Maggie Salmon; Sydney Hobson; Olivia Pall; Jenna Mae Jones; Brynn Oleson; Eliana Adamos; Mia Barrett; Sydney Shrum; Kaitlyn Bridges; Clare Barger; Noelle Pall; Kenna Oliver; Tenelle Tate; Lela Gipson; Cassi Johnson; Miranda Jones; Brooke Boyd; Madison Bell; Rylee Myers; Elise Bell; Izabella Miletello. The team is coached by Chris Pratt. Assistant coaches are Evan Cowling and Devon Boswell.