Lady Redskins close out season strong

Loudon High School senior Kenia Valdizon drives down the field Thursday in the Lady Redskins’ 9-0 win over the Harriman High School Lady Blue Devils. Valdizon finished the match with five goals.

Prior to the pitch of the final regular season match Thursday against the Harriman High School Lady Blue Devils, Loudon High School head girls soccer coach Sam Harrison challenged the team to close out on high note ahead of the District 5-2A tournament.

The Lady Redskins responded to Harrison’s call with a dominant 9-0 victory.

“We knew Harriman would be down so we tried a few new things to try and get prepared for the district tournament, but when you change anything around with my girls they kind of go to pieces,” Harrison said. “The second half I started my whole JV, but the injuries started stacking up and it wasn’t that they were being malicious, it’s just that Harriman’s really trying really hard. There was a lot of body contact, and it just kind of scared me so I just made a decision just to end this game.”

Senior Kenia Valdizon led the team with five goals, while sophomore Kaela Correa finished with a hat trick and Brigitte Nicolas scored a goal.

“We played Harriman last year and beat them pretty well, so honestly we felt pretty confident coming in here,” Valdizon said. “I told the team not to be too confident, but I really felt like we played sloppy — sloppier than we normally do. We tend to play down to teams that aren’t at our level. I honestly feel like we could’ve done better, but we have not mercy ruled any teams because that’s just not us. We ended up just finishing it off.”

The Lady Redskins returned to the field Monday night and defeated the Clinton High School Lady Dragons 9-0 in the District 5-2A quarterfinals.

Valdizon recorded another hat trick in the first half, and Nicolas and Correa each added a goal to help give Loudon a 5-0 lead at halftime. Valdizon scored three more goals in the second half.

“I feel like I’ve gained trust with the girls on the team a lot more, and I’ve always trusted them,” she said. “Last year, it was a lot different with not having chemistry with everyone because everyone was starting at new positions, new lineups and everything. I gained that trust with everyone on my team.”

Valdizon’s six goals brings her career total to 125.

“I’ve went and looked back but from what I’ve gathered, I haven’t seen anyone in the history of our program with that many goals in their high school career,” Harrison said. “It’s going to be rough sailing next year without Kenia because she’s a difference maker. I can’t say enough good things about Kenia because Kenia is a phenomenal athlete, a phenomenal soccer player. What makes her probably the best player I’ve ever coached is her attitude. She has the best attitude, and that makes her a phenomenal player.”

With the win, the Lady Redskins record the first 10-win season since 2017 after finishing 13-6-1.

Harrison credits much of the program’s success to the senior class, which includes Valdizon, Zoe Adams, Stephanie Gonzalez, Caitlyn Miller, Marietta Selby and Bethany Stevens.

“Stephanie Gonzalez has been with us for all four years and has been a solid player,” Harrison said. “Marietta Selby is another key piece that we’re really going to be missing next year. She’s been on varsity now for three years and has been a solid keeper. Caitlyn Miller just joined us for the first time this year, and I can’t say enough about her. Zoe Adams puts in a lot of work. Bethany Stevens has been with me for three years and has a strong leg. She’s got a great attitude as well. These girls have put in a lot of work and have done some great things.”

The Lady Redskins took on Scott High School on Tuesday after News-Herald presstime in the District 5-2A tournament semifinals.