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The Grant County girls’ soccer team had hoped to make some noise in the district tournament, but Mason County had other ideas.
The Lady Braves ended their season with a 4-1 loss to Mason County in the first round of the district tournament, held at Walton-Verona.
“The girls played very hard,” coach Eric Ashcraft said. “They’ve made a huge improvement from last year to this year. I’m very impressed with how they played. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from them.”
The Lady Braves allowed an early goal and then another goal on a corner kick. Mason County’s third goal came after the referee signaled the Mason County player was offside, but the goal was still allowed.
Grant County finally answered when Ranee Neltner scored on a penalty kick after being taken down from behind in the box.
The Lady Braves allowed the final goal on another corner when a Mason County player headed the ball into the back of the net.
“It was really hard, but we played well,” senior Jessie Kinman said. “Everyone wanted to win, but things happen like that. We’re used to being a second half team. We play our best regardless of the score.”
“We played hard and that’s what coach taught us to do,” senior Casey Jansen said. “We played our best and that’s all that matters. Once the first goal went in, we tried even harder.”
The Lady Braves have shown a lot of improvement over the course of the season, which makes Ashcraft positive about the future of the program.
“When I first got the team, they were a really raw team that had skills that needed to be refined,” Ashcraft said. “They’ve improved ten-fold. Kristen Keeton, Jackie Kinman, Amber Cope and Ellie Ebner will help this program improve. If they come out playing like they have at the end of this season, they will do a lot of great things next season.”
With six seniors graduating, Ashcraft is grateful for their contribution to this year’s team and the example they set for younger players.
“I have a great group of seniors,” he said. “They’ve always come through with leadership.”
For the tournament, Alexis Amorese was named to the all-district team, while Millie Hartman was an alternate.