Program-strenghtening Pats take pride in strides

From Herald Staff Reports

CLARKSVILLE — Kaley Burch probably didn’t think about it, but she used the word “tradition” in outlining what the Heritage Hills girls soccer program has to look forward to.


Times have changed with the Patriots, because Burch remembers the days when winning the sectional was a far-flung wish. The Patriot senior said claiming a sectional title was something she never envisioned when she jumped aboard with the program as a freshman. Three years later, the Patriots have two of those sectional trophies to their credit, and the promise of a program on the rise helped temper some of the sting from Saturday’s season-ending defeat.

Class 1A No. 4 Providence stopped Heritage Hills 7-1 as the Pioneers dictated the single-game regional on their home field for the second straight year against Heritage Hills. Burch took a step back, though, and realized being on the wrong end of a one-sided score wasn’t so bad, considering her last four years in which the Patriots have won at least 10 games each season to accompany three conference titles and two sectionals.

“Nothing like that had ever happened before with our soccer program. It’s pretty exciting, being able to win a sectional my junior year and my senior year, so I was pretty happy about that,” Burch said. “I think they’ll definitely keep the tradition going to the next couple of years, because they’re all a really talented group of girls.”

The Pats simply collided with a team stacked with even more talent, Burch and Patriot coach Doug Satterfield agreed.

Satterfield called Providence “easily the best team we’ve played this year, no question,” and added that the Pioneers (12-4-3) may even be better than last fall, when they captured the inaugural 1A state title. All seven of Providence’s goals came from a different player.

“They were fun to watch,” Satterfield said, “but not so much to play against.”

Providence registered the game’s first three goals before the Patriots (13-6-1) broke through six minutes before halftime. Adrianna Oxley threaded a pass ahead to Breigh Haase, who made a 5-yard touch to herself, outlegged the last Providence defender and beat the Pioneers’ goalkeeper one on one.

“She just smoked her (defender),” Satterfield said. “It was really a nice goal.”

The Pats spent most of the game’s remainder trying to rebuff Providence’s relentless attack, and the effort left Satterfield fully satisfied. He said the Pioneers likely would have created more scoring chances had it not been for Darby Vinson causing disruption from her holding midfield position. Even as the deficit ballooned, the air didn’t escape from the Pats’ spirit.

“They played with heart. Even when it became obvious we were just playing for pride, I never had a kid quit on the field,” Satterfield said. “It’s never fun to get beat, but I think the kids took a positive from it, because we matched them from an intensity level but we couldn’t match them from a skill level, (from players) 1 through 11.”

That’s a work in progress, as Burch said the Patriots have begun refining skills across the board through more attention to offseason work and practice time in the winter. Before, she said, players might try soccer for fun. Now, Burch said, “if you’re going to play, you’re going to do everything you can do to make yourself the best you can be.”

Not that the Patriots haven’t stopped to enjoy themselves along the way, though.

“Our team has got along so well. Even though I’m two or three years older than most of them, I’ve gotten along with them so well, and I’m really going to miss hanging out with all them,” Burch said. “And everyone’s so different on our team, but we still all get along really well. There hasn’t really been any drama. We all really try to help each other get better. We all tried to help each other out.”

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