2019 fuels 2020 for the Clarksville High School Lady Wildcat soccer program.
Head coach Sara Kluttz admits that the end to last season doesn’t sit well with her team. They are using the 4-1 loss to Houston in the Class AAA State Quarterfinals as motivation in 2020.
“It would be different if that last game were our best game, but that taste of being in a big game and not giving your best shot does not sit well,” she said. “We have big dreams, but we know we have a lot of hard work in front of us, and we have to take care of it one game at a time.”
Progression has been hard to come by for the Lady Wildcats.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clarksville didn’t hit the field until Sept. 5 for their first game of the season, a 6-2 win over Stewarts Creek.
Only two games into the season, Kluttz says it’s been tough on her and the girls to build a rhythm and learn from their mistakes.
“We practiced extremely hard day in and day out in hopes of having a season without really knowing for sure,” she said. “When you don’t play, it’s hard to know what to work on.”
Now that the season is officially here for Clarksville, Kluttz says she and her team will enjoy every moment together on the pitch.
“Now that we are out here, it gives even more life to every moment on the field. We worked so hard for two months, and now we get to live it out. We are thankful.”
The Lady Wildcats have aspirations of lifting their first state championship trophy since 2016, but they first have to get back two key pieces in JaNiya Stevens and Carly Barnes. Despite not having the two, Kluttz says they won’t use their absence as an excuse not to get better.
“We are hopeful of getting them back when it counts, which is the end of September and October,” she said. “That said, we are proud of the girls who are in the field. We have plenty of girls who are capable of figuring out how to win. It doesn’t destroy us when we lose a key player, yes we miss them terribly, but at the end of the day, the 11 out there are good and can get the job done.”
In their latest game against the Lady Commandos on Wednesday, Sept. 9, Clarksville jumped out to a 3-0 halftime lead thanks to two goals from Ashley Campagne and one from Ella Roth on a Campagne assist. Clarksville keeper Maddie Bond lost her clean sheet in the second half when Commando striker Liza Sircy found the back of the net on a Katie Bahn asset with three minutes remaining.
“I thought our girls took a step forward tonight,” Kluttz said. “They set the tone tonight with their aggression and winning the 50-50 balls. We got a little fatigued in the second half, but we are proud of them for finishing strong.”
Clarksville has the fuel to get to Murfreesboro; the only question is, will they be given the opportunity, or will COVID-19 end their season prematurely?
Now 3-0, the Lady Wildcats will look to keep their unbeaten season alive on Tuesday, Sept. at West Creek.