IRMO – The TL Hanna girls’ soccer team didn’t leave here with the Class AAAA Championship Trophy as planned.
Hanna ran out of steam against Wando to lose 2-1 in overtime in a SCHSL Championship match.
“They left everything on the field,” TL Hanna coach Ansley Pendergrass said after the match. “I don’t have any depth, I landed once in 100 minutes of football. And these girls gave everything they had.
“I knew if it went on overtime we wouldn’t be able to hold out. But it was a great match, and a great season. It was a Cinderella story to be honest with you.”
TL Hanna came to the state championship by scoring 15-7-1. Wando was 18-1 and was the #1 ranked team in the AAAA, and the Blue Jackets still took them to the brink.
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Not much gave TL Hanna the chance and it proved that they belong.
The turn of the season began after consecutive losses to top competitors in the region. In April, J.L. Mann defeated Hanna 2-1, and the following week Mauldin won 3-1.
Pendergrass thought they were “going to fall apart” because of how these two games had fallen apart, but it all turned out to be how far they went to the championship.
After losing Mauldin, TL Hanna went in nine straight matches until the title match. Throughout the entire qualifier, TL Hanna played on the road and persevered until the end.
“I think it’s really just our effort,” little Autumn Kylie said of the transformation. “That’s what we’ve been talking about in every game, just putting in the effort for everyone, every one. We’ve worked for our seniors, that’s all there is to it.
“We have been making all this effort and everything we can do, everything we put on the field is for the seniors. Because we want to work for each other, I think that’s what got us here.”
Young goalkeeper Henley Grunst was a key part of Hanna’s playoff tour.
Even in the loss, Grunst made some great saves. If you’re not into an A game, the game will be a blast.
Grunst wasn’t a strong starting player even before the playoffs began, splitting time all season up to a first-round match against Riverside, where Grunst secured his starting point in a 4-3 win.
“She’s had amazing saves,” Kylie said. “I mean, she has been killing it all the time in the playoffs. She has been playing practically every minute and the work she has done during the season shows. It definitely shows.”
Joshua Miller covers high school sports for Anderson Independent-Mail. Do you have questions, story ideas, scores and stats related to high school athletics? Send it to his email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: NameIsJoshua