Pleasant Grove’s Defense Too Much for Terrell
LONGVIEW – Andy Allen is thankful for Pleasant Grove’s second goal.
Although the Lady Hawks ultimately didn’t need it in a 2-0 victory against Terrell in the Region II 4A regional final, it felt, briefly, as if they might.
After the Lady Hawks’ first try was deflected, Delia Tuttlebee’s second attempt slipped past the goalie to secure the victory with 1:22 left.
When a hand ball on the ensuing position awarded Terrell a penalty kick with 13 seconds remaining, goalie Avery Jensen felt no pressure.
“If we don’t get that second goal, then that’s a huge play and we’re looking at overtime,” Allen said. “This is the third time we’ve played them in a little over a year. The first two times we lost 1-0, both off free kicks, so I knew they were going to have a hard time scoring on us. We just had to gut it out and get that goal. The girls were really confident that they could play them and get over that hump.”
Pleasant Grove (16-6-1) struck first with just over 20 minutes to go in the first. Tuttlebee had a good look at the goal, but it was deflected. But with the goalie still on the ground, she saw another chance. She took advantage, tapping the ball past for an easy goal.
Terrell (23-6-2) had its chances, but Jensen seemed to stymie every Lady Tiger shot. Allen said his defenders were also on top of things, knocking balls out and preventing opportunities for Terrell to even get shots. It’s something the Lady Hawks feel is a strength.
“The defense has been huge all year,” Allen said. “Today, if you watched the game you see how much heart those girls play with. We have the best goalie I’ve seen this season and then Haley Hearn and Grace Pickleman are two of the best defenders I’ve seen all year. Brookelyn Ramsey, senior leadership. Emma Sanderson, the freshman. They were just solid and really came up clutch and stopped a lot of big opportunities for them.”
Terrell finished the game with eight shots on goal.
Pleasant Grove will face Kilgore at 11 a.m. Saturday in Longview in the regional final. The winner will advance to the state tournament. If the Lady Hawks win, it will be the first state tournament appearance in school history.
“Kilgore, they’ve been a good program for years. We played them in the playoffs before. We played them earlier in the year. They beat us 2-1. We were up most of that game. Seeing them here today, they look better than they did when we played them. I think it should be a good matchup, but it’s a great opportunity to take that next step in the state tournament.”