HENSPTS-05-08-21 SOCCER1

Kerr-Vance Academy women’s soccer player Marie White (center) scores the game-winning goal against Crossroads Christian goalkeeper Justice Simmons (1) during a matchup between the two programs in the NCISAA 1A Playoffs on Thursday.

HENDERSON -- Despite entering Thursday’s matchup as an underdog to Crossroads Christian, Kerr-Vance Academy managed to pull off the 3-1 upset and advance into the quarterfinals of the NCISAA 1A playoffs.

KVA only had two wins in the 2021 season prior to their matchup with Crossroads but head coach Razvan Tegean said that the outcome was indicative of the hard work his players put in to ensure they would be ready for a tough matchup.

“Today was a little bit different than our previous games against [Crossroads],” Tegean said. “I told the girls yesterday at the end of practice that in the playoffs, it’s one game and that’s it. Whoever puts together the better game ends up on the winning side regardless of your record and I’m really proud of the work the girls put in today.”

KVA had to play defense throughout most of the first half with Crossroads getting plenty of good looks at the goal. While KVA only advanced the ball past midfield a handful of times, Crossroads’ inability to capitalize on available opportunities kept the score at 0-0.

With less than two minutes remaining in the opening half, KVA finally got on the board and took a 1-0 lead at halftime as a result of a corner kick that seventh-grader Leah Wood snuck past senior Crossroads goalie Justice Simmons.

Crossroads fought through most of the second half to shift momentum back into their favor. A penalty kick gave Crossroads the opening they needed, with junior Tori Renna finding the back of the net to tie the game 1-1.

Crossroads tried to keep KVA contained to force overtime but a defensive breakdown would prove costly, as KVA seventh-grader Marie White sprinted towards the net and sailed the ball past Simmons for what would be the game-winning goal.

KVA sophomore Kaiya Patton added one more goal in the closing seconds of the second half to solidify KVA’s victory, all while Crossroads head coach Holden Coghill and his players were left to reflect on the 2021 season.

Coghill said that not having seniors Anna Parker and Hope Hollingsworth out on the field made the matchup against KVA far more difficult but he affirmed that Thursday’s loss does not overshadow all of the progress the program has made in a year stricken by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It seemed like we were setting a new record every week,” Coghill said. “It was really cool to see us ahead of schedule from the COVID-shortened season last year. This team really surprised me and they really helped me fall in love with the game again. The girls got better and I got better as both a coach and a person. I hate that they had to go out like this but I’m very proud of them.”

For Tegean, he said that he wants his players to enjoy the current postseason run for as long as it lasts and is optimistic that playing loose but smart can enable KVA to remain competitive against tougher competition.

“Sometimes those small things can make a huge difference,” Tegean said. “For us, being there at the right time and the right place really helped us. We’re going to go out, try our best, have fun and see how things turn out at the end of regulation.”

KVA is set to play later this afternoon against Christ Covenant, who previously defeated them 6-0 on April 16.