Troy’s 11U team downed in state final
Coach Ken LaBrant’s final team prayer was fraught with emotion.
“Lord, you never promises us that life will always be about winning,” he said. “Please help us learn, even now.”
Around him, members of the Troy 11U soccer team wiped away the tears as they joined hands for the last time, just minutes after losing the state championship game 1-0 in a tense second round of shootouts.
“This is just a good bunch of kids, and sometimes you want it so bad for them,” said LaBrant, who had coached many of the same players two years ago when the 9U team won the state championship.
The Troy team, which was undefeated in pool play, dominated the field during the game but faced a tough defense in Jacksonville and its goalie.
The Troy team had several shots on goal during regulation play, but could not make the goals.
“You know, Jason (Fleming) is our goalie and I haven’t seen a goalie as good as he is until her,” LaBrant said. “She was tough.”
With the score 0-0 at the end of regulation, the teams headed into a shootout. Each team connected on two of those kicks to send the game to a second overtime.
Jacksonville’s sixth kicker scored, but Troy’s kick failed, giving Jacksonville the win.
“You know, it’s tough,” LaBrant said. “We won the game on the field, but when you go to a shootout, anything can happen.”
Earlier in the day, Troy had defeated Prattville 1-0 in the last game of the pool play portion of the tournament.
Prattville was the first team to hold Troy scoreless in the first half of the game, only a day after the Trojans scored 15 goals in two games.
“We were fortunate to get a corner kick and a header into the net for a goal,” LaBrant said. Reilly Fox and Cole LaBrant combined for the goal.