By Anthony S. Puca
The Forrest Lady Rockets (5-5-1, 5-3-1)) traveled to Pulaski on Monday, ending the regular season with a 3-1 loss to Giles County (8-1-1, 7-1).
The contest was good tune-up for the Lady Rockets, heading into the District 11A/AA Tournament, which begins Oct. 18. Forrest secured the fourth seed last week with their 4-1 win over Cascade and will host the Lady Champions in a first round match-up on Monday, Oct. 21 in Chapel Hill.
The Lady Rockets' coaching staff got an opportunity to look at a bevy of different combinations in the game to get ready for the opener.
"This was definitely a good tune-up for the district tournament for the simple fact that they (Giles County) are one of the best teams in their region," said Forrest head coach Sherry Jones.
"I thought our girls really stepped up and played the way they are capable of playing," Jones added.
The contest did not begin well for Forrest as the Lady Bobcats came out and put heavy offensive pressure on the visitors, making run after run into the Forrest end. The defense held firm and goalies Marlana Eatherly and Shannon Warren shut the door; combining for 8 saves in the first half.
Giles County finally got on the scoreboard at the 25:30 mark of the half when Natasha Reynolds took a pass from Catherine Leigh White and fired a bullet past Warren for a 1-0 lead.
Anna Wiser, who is beginning to round back into form after recently returning from injury almost knotted the game with just under two minutes to play when Giles County goalie Meridith Mize came out to cut the angle on a rush, but Wiser floated the ball, just wide over head and the half ended with the Lady Rockets still trailing, 1-0.
Forrest returned from the halftime break rejuvenated and Wiser got even, heading the ball into the net on a great twisting corner kick from Taylour Allen at the 1:11 mark to knot the score at one apiece.
The teams played even for the next ten minutes until Heather Holley made a great individual run up the left side for an unassisted goal to put the Lady Cats up 2-1.
Forrest turned up the pressure, trying to tie the game and almost did when Allen took a pass from Ciara Cook and took the ball deep into the Giles County box where she was pushed off the ball, but no call was made and Allen shot the off balance shot, wide right.
Warren kept the game close with several great saves on hard shots by the Lady Cats. Warren would finish the game with 20 saves.
"Shannon and Marlana really played great in the net today and they both took some hard shots and made some great saves," said Jones in the post game interview.
Giles County iced the contest at the 38:00 mark when Reynolds took a pass from Holley and scored to make it 3-1.
"I thought we were in good shape there when Anna scored just after the half, but we just could not get even," said the FHS coach.
"I think we are ready for the district tournament after this game because these girls know that Giles County is the only team that has beaten Columbia Academy."
Columbia Academy is looked upon by many observers to be the team to beat in District 12A/AA. Forrest and CA have met the last two years in the region final with the Lady Rockets winning in 2006 and the Lady Bulldogs getting revenge last year to end Forrest's season in Columbia.