Athletic Round Up: Week of October 26
BGA vs St. George’s
Saturday, October 31
With BGA vs. St. George’s in one bracket and CPA vs USJ in the other, the 2020 State Tournament stage was set as a sequel to the 2019 season and BGA’s opponent had a score to settle. In the 2019 semifinal, BGA came away as victor in a mucky match that was decided by one goal by the Wildcats’ Alyssa White ‘22. In the 2020 season, however, BGA was facing St. George’s without their spark plug, White, who suffered a season ending injury in September. The Wildcats had to seek a different hero in this year’s match. It wasn’t just one hero this year, it was a masterful collection of warriors and heroes of different levels. As St. George’s was clearly the physically stronger side, the Wildcats had to rely on their quick speed of play and timely defensive tackles to put and keep the Gryphons on their heels. Starting off the scoring for BGA was Kennedy Price ‘22, who was assisted on her goal by Keaton Mitchell ‘23 in the 9th minute of the game. The Wildcats continued their charge of attack, and BGA’s Kennedy Price managed to earn and score a PK in the 22nd minute. The Gryphons would try to recover from the 2-goal deficit and put BGA’s goalkeeper, Graci Semptimphelter ‘22, and fellow backline under a bit of pressure with 5 shots on goal. St. George’s was able to earn one goal back just before half in the 35th minute. In the second half, the Gryphons poured on a little more pressure and turned the game into an even more physical match in an attempt to settle the odds against them. After suffering 3 yellow cards from physical play, the Gryphons still managed to get 3 shots on BGA’s goal, but Semptimplelter remained poised to make the proper saves. Then, in the 57th minute, BGA put the game out of reach for the Gryphons as Keaton Mitchell ‘23 took advantage of the free kick just outside of the 18th on the left side of the field. Mitchell’s time in quarantine was about to pay off as she placed a perfectly weighted shot over the head of the Gryphon GK and into the side netting to give her team a 2-goal lead. This final goal of the match took the wind out of St. George’s sail and gave BGA another appearance in a state title match.
GOALS: BGA - Kennedy Price ‘22 (2), Keaton Mitchell ‘23 (1); SG - #10
ASSISTS: BGA - Keaton Mitchell (1)
SAVES: BGA - Graci Semptimphelter (7), SG - (3)
BGA vs USJ
Sunday, October 31
After a physical semifinal match with St. George’s just 24 hours before, the Wildcats had to quickly recover and prepare for a state title game against University School of Jackson, who defeated CPA 1-0 in OT. This was an opportunity for both programs to make history for their respective schools. USJ had never won a state title, and BGA had been to the state final match many times before in back-to-back seasons, but never had the program won back-to-back titles. There was quite a bit on the line for both programs, but only one program was going to make history. The first half looked very much in favor of the Wildcats as they smothered USJ with immense pressure. From the very beginning, BGA played at a speed and intensity level that USJ had a difficult time managing. Intelligent play from the Wildcats kept the better part of the game in the USJ half of the field, with only occasional attempts in the BGA half from USJ. Shots on goal were fairly even between the two teams; however, it was the 4th attempt in the 31st minute when BGA’s Sara Evans ‘21 made a difference on the scoreboard. Assisting on Sara’s goal was freshman Sophia Donoghue ‘24, who fed Evans a perfectly weighted pass for her to finish with one touch and out of the reach of USJ’s goalkeeper, Lilly Kate Varino. The score held 1-0 into the half, with BGA in the lead. In second half action, BGA jammed the pedal to the metal to add to their 1-goal lead with scoring attempts from Kennedy Price ‘22, Keaton Mitchell ‘23, Cat Schreiber ‘23, and Sophia Donoghue ‘24, but none of those tries hit the back of the net. At one point in the second half, USJ gathered a 2nd wind and mustered up a few attacks on the BGA defense. With poise and solid support from each other, the Wildcats kept USJ at bay with only 1 shot on goal, giving BGA 8 more attempts on the other end of the field. Despite their efforts to add to the score, BGA still controlled the play and managed every second of the 2nd half to secure the victory. The historical win over USJ by a score of 1-0 has given BGA a back-to-back state title and a monumental 2020 story that will forever live in the memories of the school’s community.
GOALS: BGA - Sara Evans ‘21 (1)
ASSISTS: BGA - Sophia Donoghue ‘24 (1)
SAVES: BGA - Graci Semptimphelter (4), USJ - (12)
Middle Region Championships
Thursday, October 29
The Battle Ground Academy Cross Country teams travelled to Sanders Ferry Park in Hendersonville to compete for a regional championship and to attempt to earn a trip to the state championships. For the first time in over a decade, BGA brought a full team of girls to the regional championship. They were led by Laurel Phelps '24, who finished in 17th at 23:27. Other scoring runners were Lindsay Phelps '22 (23rd; 23:54), Harris Cleveland '24 (24th; 24:40), Isabelle Northam '23 (25th; 24:48), and Christine Jewell '21 (26:00). The girls finished 4th, just missing out on qualifying for the state meet. In the varsity boys race, the Wildcats were led by Trace Alexander '22, who finished as Region Runner-Up and earned All-Region honors (17:27). He was joined in the scoring by Jack Evans '23 (15th; 18:41; All-Region), Braden Millard '24 (20th, 19:07), Oliver Baker '23 (21st; 19:09), and Cole Beck Williams '21 (26th; 19:21). The BGA top 5 finished tied in 2nd place with CPA's top 5, which sent the team runner-up award to a tie-breaker, which was how the number 6 runner for each school finished. BGA's Brady Zhang '22 (32nd; 19:32) pushed them over the top, and secured them the hardware as DII-A Middle Region Runner-Up.
Varsity Boys Team Standings (12 teams total)
BGA 77 (*won tiebreaker*)
Varsity Girls Team Standings (9 teams total)
Friday, October 30
In the regular season finale, the Wildcats faced off against the region champion Lipscomb Academy Mustangs. Although the Wildcats were able to move the ball offensively, they were unable to register any points on the scoreboard in the first half. The defense played one of their best games of the year against the most formidable offense to date. Lipscomb scored touchdowns in the second quarter and early third quarter to take a 14-0 lead. The Wildcats pulled back to within 7 points late in the third quarter on a Xavier Shaw ‘21 blocked punt that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. The momentum did not last long as the Wildcats surrendered a kickoff return for a touchdown on the ensuing play. While the Wildcats battled well throughout, they ultimately came up short, losing 21-7. The team was led offensively by Sean Williams ‘22, who tallied almost 200 all purpose yards, and defensively by Miller Barnett ‘22, who registered 9.5 tackles. The Wildcats enter the Division II-AA playoffs as the No. 4 seed from the Middle Region and will travel to Northpoint Christian in Southhaven, MS to take on the Trojans.