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Lady ’Cats soccer overcomes adversity for season opening win at Knox Webb

In two games this season, the Oak Ridge girls soccer team has already faced more than its share of adversity.

The trials and tribulations began before the Lady Wildcats even stepped on the field for their season-opening match at Webb School of Knoxville on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Oak Ridge faced a tough test against the Lady Spartans on the road, and it arrived late to play on a field without lights.

The bus was 30 minutes late getting to Oak Ridge to take the Lady Wildcats to West Knoxville.

Things went from bad to worse as the driver had to take a detour due to an accident in Solway, just outside the Karns community.

Then, forward Aniya Fisher became ill on the bus ride after drinking an energy drink on an empty stomach.

But in the end, it was Fisher, who entered the season-opening showdown in the 10th minute, who was thrust in the role of hero.

The forward helped the Lady Wildcats overcome an early deficit as she scored both of Oak Ridge’s goals in a 2-1 victory over the Lady Spartans.

“She was sick because she drank an energy drink and she couldn’t start,” Oak Ridge Coach Donnie Green said of Fisher. “We put her in in the 10th minute after Webb scored first.

“Webb is a lot like us. They’re young. This was a good win for us.”

Lady Spartans freshman forward McKalie Ball, who was Webb’s leading scorer as an eighth-grader in 2021, tallied in the second minute of the contest when she scored off an assist from Pearce Groer.

Fisher tied the game in the 34th minute before scoring the game-winning marker midway through the second half.

It was Oak Ridge’s second consecutive season-opening win over the Lady Spartans.

The Wildcats edged Webb 5-4 in 2021 in Oak Ridge.

The Lady Wildcats (1-1 overall, 0-1 in District 3-AAA) opened the league portion of its season at Knoxville West High School’s Bill Wilson Field.

And it was a long night for Oak Ridge as it came up on the short end of a 5-0 decision against the Lady Rebels, who are favored to repeat as district champions.

“I was very frustrated with my midfield,” Green said. “They weren’t communicating.”

The coach was so distraught that he subbed out his starters with younger, less-experienced players in the midfield.

“I had underclassmen, including freshmen in to finish the game,” Green said. “You’ll probably see more freshmen this year.”