Written by Tyler Raley

HUNTSVILLE – On a hot and humid morning in Huntsville, the Mountain Brook Spartans used their strength of possession to take down the Athens Golden Eagles 3-0 on Thursday, May 9 in the semifinals of the Class 6A playoffs.

In a dominant showing on both ends of the field, the Spartans will now get the chance to earn their first state championship since the 2013 season.

It was a slow start to the first half for both sides, but one thing remained constant, Mountain Brook maintained strong control of possession throughout the game, which eventually paid off.

The Spartans could not get things going early, with plenty of free kick opportunities that were not converted into goals. That kept Athens in it for a portion of the game.

That was until Mountain Brook struck in the 33rd minute of the opening half, which seemed to set the tone for the Spartans. Sophie Hicks drove down the left side deep into Golden Eagle territory and crossed it into the box for Martha Mae Smith, who struck it in to put her squad up 1-0.

The second half provided plenty of early opportunities for the Spartans to extend that lead, but three offside penalties prevented that from happening.

As the minutes ticked off of the clock, though, Mountain Brook continued to gain momentum.

In the 67th minute, Hicks drove down the center of the field and from just outside the box put a shot into the lower left corner of the net, putting the Spartans up by two.

At this moment, it was evident that Mountain Brook was inching closer to an appearance in the state championship game, but it was not done yet.

Anne Parrish Tucker joined the party in the 69th minute, driving down the right side of the pitch on her own before pushing it into the bottom right corner of the net, fully securing the victory.

The Spartans had control on the Athens side of the field the entire game, outshooting the Golden Eagles by 20 throughout the game, with 15 shots being on goal.

Hicks had the only assist on the day in the early going, being the player that kickstarted the Mountain Brook run, giving it momentum for the rest of the game.

The Spartans will make a return to John Hunt Park on Saturday, May 11 at 11:30 a.m., taking on the Briarwood Christian Lions for a Class 6A blue map.