Sadly, Central’s Lady Bobcat Soccer Team’s historic season came to an end Wednesday night November, 6 in a 0-2 loss to Murfreesboro Central- but this season is nothing to be disappointed about.
The team played at Wednesday night at Richard Siegle Soccer Complex in the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. Murfreesboro Central scored a goal in each half to move on to the next round.
As they left the field, tears were shed but no one was forgetting the amazing season they’d pulled off. They won the District Championship, beating Carter in the final 7-0. Then they won the Region Championship, beating Gibbs in double overtime 2-0. And after years of hard work, finally won the sub-state against Seymour in a penalty kick shootout. They then moved on to the state quarterfinals in Murfreesboro.
This year’s team set records and a new expectation for girl’s soccer at Central. They won the District Championship for the first time, won their second Regional Championship in three years, and was the first girls soccer team from Central to ever go to the State tournament. Additionally, their Regional Final game against Gibbs broke the record for the most attended high school soccer game in Knoxville. Attendance to that game racked up to over 1,000.
Not only were their accomplishments special, but this team was special. With Central’s first ever DI girl’s soccer commit, two starting freshmen, and the senior top scorer, the 2019 team will be one none of them ever forget.
When asked about this season, starting freshman defender Lexi Fordham (4) said, “It means a lot to me to not only be able to be a part of this team as a freshman but to start and play as well. It was really cool to see how welcoming and everybody was at the beginning of the season and how well we could work together on the field.” Fordham also plays club soccer for Knoxville Crush and previously played for Gresham Middle School. She started in all postseason games and the State quarterfinal game.
This team also made history having Central’s first Division 1 collegiate Girl’s Soccer commit. Senior goalkeeper Ashton Blair (29) announced September 10th that she had committed to play at East Tennessee State University. After missing her junior
season with a torn ACL, her comeback season was better than anyone could’ve hoped for. Blair remarked about her accomplishment saying, “It’s super special. I think it’s amazing to be the first but that just means there’s many more athletes like me to come through Central.” She said it was her winning mindset that kept her focused this year, she knew they would go far and never had second thoughts.
While Blair is the only senior to move on to play in college, she’ll never forget the unforgettable feats of her high school team. “This team means the absolute world to me. Definitely all of my best friends for life. I love them so much. I’m so glad to have said I was apart of this team…”
While the team loses five seniors this year they will gain many freshmen and have more upperclassmen taking charge. Many on the team and head coach Bill Mize expect to make the trip back to state next year and hopefully go even further.
Pictures by John Valentine and Ella Wilds
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