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Harpeth Hall soccer team clinches state championship

Harpeth Hall soccer team clinches state championship
Harpeth Hall soccer team clinches state championship
Harpeth Hall state soccer champions

In the biggest game of the season, it took just two minutes for Harpeth Hall to get the ball in the back of the net.

And once ahead, the Bears never looked back.

With a 2-0 win over Baylor on Friday night, the Harpeth Hall soccer team claimed the 2021 TSSAA Division II-AA state championship.

"We just brought it home," Head Coach Meggie Lucas said. "Our defense was stellar, denying a very talented Baylor team. Our midfield never stopped, and our offense capitalized when it counted."

The title marked the second in school history and the second for Lucas, who also led the team in 2013 when Harpeth Hall clinched its first Division II-AA state title by handing Father Ryan its only loss of the year.

Coach Lucas stepped down to pursue a postgraduate degree one season later, and — after a few years — returned in 2020 to again take Harpeth Hall to the top of its game.

This year, team defense dominated. Senior goalkeeper Mallory Thomas, who has committed to continue her soccer career at the Miami University in Ohio next year, allowed only six goals with 96 saves in 13 games heading into the state semifinals. Senior Ashley Tirrill was another defensive standout at center fullback, adding to a team full of talent.

"Really the chemistry was amazing," Coach Lucas said.

Harpeth Hall entered the state semifinals on Thursday undefeated and the dark horse in the playoffs. In a close matchup against Girls Preparatory School, GPS scored on a header to tie the game 2-2 in the 65th minute. Two minutes later, Harpeth Hall freshman Quinn Erim scored the go-ahead goal that secured the 3-2 win and the trip to the title game.

Quinn harnessed that energy and carried it to the finals against Baylor on Friday night. She put the Bears on the scoreboard first with a goal two and a half minutes into the game with a one-touch power shot from outside the box that put Harpeth Hall ahead 1-0. She added another in the 70th minute to give the Bears a two-goal lead and set them up for the title.

"I knew in August this was within our reach," Coach Lucas said, "but there were a lot of pieces that would need to fall into place. Part of that was keeping up the morale and work ethic for four months.

"We have had seniors both last year and this year that took it on their shoulders to truly build a community around our team. I could list a thousand ways that they made sure that everyone felt a part of the team. Even if it wasn't their impact on the field, their role cannot be understated. We have the most amazing girls, and coaching them is an honor."