GALLATIN — For the first time in three seasons, the Station Camp Lady Bison are the Region 5AAA champions. Jeremy Cooke’s squad bested District 10AAA foe Hendersonville Thursday night on the East Bank, 3-0, for their second win in three tries against the Lady Commandos in 2021 — their first meeting ended in a 1-1 tie and a 6-1 win in the district championship. 

With their win, Station Camp ears the right to host the Class AAA sectional match where they will face off against Region 6AAA runners-up Nolensville, who lost 0-1 to Ravenwood. 

Against Hendersonville, junior Briley Hitt tallied two goals in the first five minutes of the second half to help cushion a 1-0 halftime advantage.

“I’m so happy for Briley,” Cooke said. “She has had some ups and downs this year, so I know those two goals give her confidence heading into Saturday — I’m just so proud of her.”

According to Hendersonville head coach Devin Woodard, Hitt put the game on ice for Station Camp with the game’s final goal with 36 minutes left in the contest.

“The second one didn’t bother me because I thought we were getting more energy and effort from the girls,” she said. “The third goal was the tough one.”

With the biggest game of the season on the line Saturday, Cooke says playing at home should relieve the stress and pressure of playing in a contest that earns a state tournament berth.

“I’m not worried about the game or moment being too big because I think being here at home helps that,” he said. “As for our opponent, Nolensville, they are talented, but we will come up with a game plan to execute and hope Elle (Williams) is back so we can take advantage of our three-headed monster up top.

Williams exited Thursday night’s contest early in the first half with knee soreness. Cooke said there was no need to put her in the game to further risk injury.

“Ultimately, I leave that up to Andy (Yarbrough),” he said. “I trust Andy with everything and believe he is the best trainer around. When he told me to hold her out the rest of the game, I said, ‘okay.”

Shortly after Williams exited the contest, freshman Ayden Wood relieved pressure for the Lady Bison taking on the Hendersonville defense before burying her shot in the back of the net.

“Give credit to Hendersonville they came out with so much intensity and effort, but we knew they would, so we just wanted to weather that storm early,” Cooke said. “Thankfully, Ayden’s goal helped, and I think that changed the game; allowed us to settle in.”

As well as his attackers and midfield played, Cooke was quick to credit his defense and keeper, Linden Perry.

“The backline effort tonight was great; they played tremendous soccer,” he said. “When you have a keeper like Linden that gives you all the confidence in the world as a defense because you know that even if you make a bad play, she is there. Perry allows our defense to play with a ton of confidence.”

The sectional round matchup at home is the first since 2018, where the Bison lost to Ravenwood 3-7.

“Getting back here is huge, especially for these seniors,” Cooke said. “The big goal is to be the first Station Camp girls team in AAA to make it to state, and I tell them, lets not just make it to state because if you can beat the Williamson County Schools, there is no reason to believe you can’t win it all.”

Hendersonville will travel to Ravenwood, where they will take on a familiar foe in the Lady Raptors. The two teams met this preseason, and Lady Raptors head coach Jessica Mancini is a former Lady Commando player.

“We will be prepared,” Woodard said. “Jessica is a great coach, and we know it will be a great game, so we are excited about Saturday.”

Both games are scheduled for a 7 p.m. kick-off. 

Zach Womble oversees sports coverage in Sumner County for the Gallatin News, Hendersonville Standard and Portland Sun. Womble has won several TPA awards, highlighted by two first-place awards in 2020 for best sports writing and best special section.

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