NOLENSVILLE – The White House Heritage girls soccer team is trying to prove that it is a legitimate contender for the TSSAA Class AA state title. 

Tuesday’s game at Nolensville – a team that fell in the Class AA semifinals to Seymour last season – gave the Lady Patriots that opportunity, according to Heritage coach Rett Roach. 

“I made clear to the girls that the talk amongst Tennessee high school soccer coaches was that Nolensville High School and Greeneville High School were the top (Class) AA contenders,” Roach said. “I challenged them to change the narrative and prove they belonged in that conversation.”

And that’s exactly what they did.

White House Heritage carried a 1-0 lead for most of the game after Cassie Gardner opened the scoring off an assist from Abby Tolbert early in the first half. 

However, the final 10 minutes of the game were a bit chaotic. Nolensville scored in the 80th minute and took a 2-1 lead with another goal two minutes later. 

Just 30 seconds later, Tolbert tied the game with another Heritage goal. After another 15 seconds, a cross from Tolbert found the foot of Gardner, who scored her second goal to give the Lady Patriots a 3-2 lead. 

That advantage only lasted five minutes. The Knights added a third goal with 40 seconds remaining to knot the score for the final time. 

Despite losing the late lead, Roach said he was pleased with the fight his team displayed in the final 10 minutes. 

“Our girls showed resilience,” Roach said. “I was proud of the way the girls competed. They played with a chip on their shoulder and wanted to (show) the rest of the AA soccer world they belonged.”

After a home tilt with Macon County Tuesday, Sept. 10, the Lady Patriots will open District 9-AA play at Springfield Thursday, Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. The game will be played at Travis Price Park.

“Playing a game like this is a great boost for the start of district play next week,” Roach said. “It's a fun group, and I look forward to seeing how they progress as the season matures.”

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