Lexington girls fall to J.L. Mann in Class 5A soccer final

Thomas Grant Jr. photo.

Special to ColaDaily by Thomas Grant Jr. 
A second state championship in four years would provide a fitting end to the careers of the senior players on the Lexington High School girls soccer team.
A 3-minute scoring surge by J.L. Mann, however, helped put the Lady Wildcats in a deficit it could never overcome. They fell 3-2 to the Lady Patriots in the Class 5A championship game at Irmo High School.
Lexington led 1-0 at halftime following a goal by senior Siera Kirby. It only took seconds once play resumed for J.L. Mann to tie the game on Erica Manfre’s goal.
Nearly three minutes later, the Lady Patriots took advantage of another opening in Lexington’s defense for a second goal by Caroline Conti.
“We fell asleep in the first 5-10 minutes in the second half,” Lexington head coach Chris Fryland said. “They scored 20 seconds in and we just weren’t quite ready to compete right when the game started and that’s the difference in these type of games. But, give (J.L.) Mann a lot of credit. They’re very good. (Shots advantage was) 23-10 and then they had the red card, so they were down to 10 players and they still controlled the midfield on us. But give them a lot of credit.”
Conti added a second goal to give the Lady Patriots a 3-1 lead with 16 minutes left. The Lady Wildcats battled back as seniors Brooke Power and Mary Katherine Waters once again hooked up for a scoring play with 10:20 left.
Lexington had a few more opportunities, but the clock would run out to the delight of a J.L. Mann squad which avenged the 2016 Class 4A title game won on Megan Classer’s “Golden Goal”.
The loss snapped a 19-match winning streak by Lexington (21-2), whose only other loss came at the hands of a another nationally-ranked team in Clover who was defeated by J.L. Mann in the Upper State final.
The senior class of Power, Waters, Classer, Kirby, Jessica Fedorka, Sussana Hutto and Tanner Behling leaves behind a bevy of accomplishments:
– 96 victories
– 4 region titles (44-0)
– 4 Lower State finals
– 2 Lower State titles
– 2 state title appearances
– 2016 Class 4A title (1st in school history
Categories: Chapin, Education, Irmo, Lexington, Lexington County, Sports

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