Jamestown High's best girls soccer season in 18 years came to a tough end as the Eagles fell 6-1 to Salem in the Group 4A state tournament semifinals Friday at Roanoke College.
The Spartans (18-2-2) were the better team, but the final score was perhaps more one-sided than tenor of the game for the first 60 minutes. Once they fell behind by two goals with 21:54 left in the second half, the Eagles (17-3) threw everything into attack in an attempt to rally and got burned by numerous Salem counterattacks.
Despite the loss, the Eagles looked back on their season with no regrets while looking forward to what appears to be a bright future. Only three of the Eagles' 11 starters graduate from a team that reached a state semifinal for the first time since the 1999 team won the AA state title.
"Playing at this level is very cool," Eagles senior Page Frantz said. "Us being here just allows them to see what it's like to get back here next year and eventually beat it."
The Spartans broke through with 25:09 to play in the first half, when Rachel Massey headed in Kristen Honaker's corner kick to make it 1-0.
Eagles goalkeeper Emma Hudson kept the Spartans from adding to their lead for nearly half of the second half with two difficult saves.
"I was put back there in the first place because of my speed and I knew I could get to those," Hudson said." I just had to say to myself, 'You can do it. You can do it. You can do it.' I just did what I could."
Salem took a 2-0 lead with 21:54 remaining on another corner kick, this time by Morgan Brooks and headed in by Mallory Edwards.
Jamestown co-coaches Kevin and Michelle Dawson then replaced Hudson in goal and moved her into attack, while also pushing Frantz from back to front into attack. The commitment to attack allowed Salem to counter often and earn numerous set pieces, corners and free kicks, that resulted in goals.
Salem scored three times in four minutes before Jamestown scored a goal on a pass from Hudson to Sofie Fox to Kennedy Mills, who knocked it through to avert the shutout.
After the game, the Eagles focused on their successes rather than dwell on the loss.
"I'm thankful that we even made it this far to begin with," Hudson said. "At first (with) the attitude at the start (of the season), I wasn't sure how we'd do. But I'm glad that we were able to grow together as a a team. I'm really grateful for that."
Frantz said, “I’ll remember everything about being a part of this team, from the practices to the team dinners to the sleepovers to being here. Just everything led us to here, and everything brought us close enough to get to here.”
SALEM 6, JAMESTOWN 1
Half: Salem 1-0. Goals: Salem, Barnes 2, Massey, Edwards, Laub, Magenbauer; Jamestown, Mills. Assists: Salem, Steffan, Brooks 2; Jamestown, Fox. Records: Salem 18-2-2, Jamestown 17-3.
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.