The third time’s a charm.
In their third consecutive District 6AA championship game appearance, the Cumberland County Lady Jet soccer team broke through to win the district crown by defeating Livingston Academy 3-0.
“It’s a great feeling,” said CCHS coach Cub Whitson. “Finally getting one was huge. That’s been our rally all season long. It’s been our goal all season.”
A season ago, Cumberland County was upset in the championship game by Livingston Academy 2-1.
This season, the Lady Jets went a perfect 6-0 (including tournament games) against District 6AA foes in 2019.
“Especially playing a team like Livingston,” added Whitson. “The girls were up for it and executed everything we talked about. I’m extremely proud all the way around.”
Cumberland County got on the board in the first half with two goals within 51 seconds of each other.
With 24:10 left in the first half, Lauren Randall tapped in a shot in front of the net off to make the score 1-0.
“It was kind of a scrum in the box,” said Whitson. “I think the ball touched four people before it went in.”
Less than a minute later, Randall made a run down the right side and set a strong shot into the net, giving Cumberland County a 2-0 lead.
“In the game of soccer, goals come in pairs,” added Whitson. “It was either going to be us or them. We capitalized on that swing of momentum and made it happen.”
At the half, Whitson emphasized not letting up despite the lead.
“We’ve got to work on that,” said Whitson. “We talked not about letting up, but not taking risks. I didn’t communicate it clearly enough. We came out in the second half too laid back. We’ve got to keep pushing forward.”
The Lady Jets and Livingston battled for a good portion of the second half until the Lady Jets pieced together a beautiful run for a third and game-sealing goal with 5:16 left.
Nerissa Scarbrough found Jordan Herring at midfield, who hit District 6AA MVP Belle Christopher in stride on the left side, resulting in a clean shot into the right side of the net, giving CCHS the 3-0 lead.
“Belle had been getting shots like that off,” added Whitson. “It was absolutely beautiful.”
CCHS keeper Ali Wilson and the Jet defense posted a shutout in the game.
Cumberland County would hold on to that lead for the duration of the contest, giving the program its first-ever district championship.
The Lady Jets had eight players recognized with either all-district or all-tournament awards: Madison Buffkin, Jordan Herring, Grace Baldwin, Belle Christopher, Lauren Randall, Nerissa Scarbrough, Josi Smith and Ali Wilson.
“They deserve it,” Whitson said. “These girls work so hard. They love the game of soccer and their school. It makes me proud that they get recognized for their hard work and effort. It’s awesome that other people recognize what they can do.”
Cumberland County will host Scott in the Region 3AA semifinals Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Lady Jets won the region tournament most recently in 2017.
“We’ve already started scouting,” said Whitson. “We’re going to enjoy this and celebrate, then be back at it.”