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High School Soccer

Soccer: Page bounces back from first loss, takes district lead

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Soccer – Tullahoma at Page

McKenzie Graham, Kate Nelson and Katelyn Davis 

FRANKLIN – Coming off their first loss, the Page High School girls soccer team wanted to produce a better start in a District 11-AA contest against visiting Tullahoma.

They did. 

The Lady Patriots received a spark from senior McKenzie Graham, who scored two first half goals, and junior Katleyn Davis, who assisted on all three tallies Tuesday in a 3-1 victory that also handed the Lady Wildcats their first loss. 

“When we played BGA last week, we just started off really slow and we just wanted to to turn that around this game,” said Graham, who scored her fourth and fifth goals for Page this season.

Page suffered their first loss last week – 2-1 against Battle Ground Academy – a night after tipping Spring Hill 4-0.

“I feel like we are getting our groove back,” said Davis, who credited the front three starters for wearing down the defense for her and Graham to take advantage when they entered the match. “And we were talking a lot about passing faster and making the right runs, too, coming into this one.”

Both of Graham’s goals came within less than two minutes near the end of the first half. Her first tally was in the 27th on a low shot from the right side after a quick flick from Davis on a long throw from Anna Baker.

In the 29th, Davis sent a hard cross that took one bounce before getting booted by Graham from the left side to the upper left corner. Teammate Kate Nelson was in front of the keeper and got tangled up with a defender to help open up the goal as the cross sailed over.

“Those were great balls,” Graham said. “So I just crashed and headed in.”

Junior Abby Thornton added three shots on goal in the opening half for the home team.

Tullahoma scored in the 48th when Amy Johnson slipped behind the defense for a shot from the right side to make it 2-1. Nelson pressured on back-to-back runs, including a little give-and-go with Riley Kate Collins, as Page regained possession but couldn't convert. The Lady Patriots managed two more shots before Tullahoma threatened again in the 63rd on a high shot by Lily Storey.

After a takeaway near midfield, Davis sent a long cross from the right side to Reagan Hamilton in stride for the backbreaker in the 71st to extend Page’s lead to 3-1. Thornton had just had another shot on a deep free kick slide past the left post prior and nearly converted again on a patient rebound attempt in the 75th.

“These girls are working hard and really getting better every week,” Page coach Nate Clapp said, adding how his veteran players are helping lead a young crop of contributors. “We really didn’t know how this team was going to come together having lost a lot of people over the last two seasons, but they’ve done a phenomenal job.”

Clapp said he scheduled BGA back-to-back after playing Spring Hill for more of a “tournament feel.”

“That’s a good opponent there and talking specifically about that matchup, we needed to start a little differently, but as a coach you feel pretty good about the mindset and how it changed (coming into tonight),” he said.

Page improved to 7-1-1 overall and 4-0 in district play to take over sole possession of first place in the league. Tullahoma moved to 6-1-1 overall and 2-1 in district play.

The Lady Patriots host Giles County Thursday in another district meeting.

“This game gives us more confidence going into Giles County,” Davis said. “I think this game we wanted to prove we could do a lot better and we did prove that.”

“I think we will keep this up now,” added Graham.

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