GADSDEN – A solid season for a young Cullman Lady Bearcats soccer team came to a close Friday night in the first round of the AHSAA Class 6A playoffs.
Cullman fell 3-0 to Southside-Gadsden. The Lady 'Cats experienced their second best season in school history at 15-6-2. The squad consists of seven starters who are younger than 15 and four playing high school soccer at the age of 13.
Southside fielded a unit that had nine seniors and two juniors in its starting lineup. The Lady Panthers scored eight minutes into the match and added another goal with 13:00 left in the half to raise the advantage to 2-0.
An insurance goal by Southside came with 25:00 remaining in the game. The Lady Panthers kept Cullman from scoring and moving on to the second round, against the winner of the Austin-Hazel Green game.
"Cullman was a very good opponent," Southside coach Tiffany Cargill said to the Gadsden Times. "They presented us with a challenge and thankfully our girls rose to the occasion and did what they had to do."
Coach Jacob Brown's team set a single season record with 90 goals while sophomore Abby Branham created a new record for goals scored by an individual, finishing with 46.
"Overall, we had a very successful season," Brown said. "Sure it's disappointing it has to come to an end in the first round, but we exceeded expectations. No one thought a team so young could achieve so much.
The future is very bright and I can't wait to see what they do when they are the same age as their opponents."
Cullman's season included a 6-0 start, followed by another six-game winning streak, that saw them beat Arab 2-1, Helena 5-0 and Hazel Green 2-1 during the Cullman Shamrock Invitational in early March.
But the young age of the squad began to show in the later part of the season with one victory in their final six assignments. Cullman was second in 6A, Area 14 when Albertville posted a 1-0 victory on April 11. Albertville hosted Fort Payne in the first round of the playoffs.
Cullman's squad will be a mature team in 2018, with the expectations very high for them to only improve on the success they experienced in the spring of 2017.
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