Instead, it produced a remarkably similar final act.
Facing Veterans in the quarterfinals for the second straight season, the Lady Knights suffered a 1-0 loss, just as they did in 2013.
The repeated storyline wasn’t lost on River Ridge coach Sarah Goodbread.
“It’s the same thing as last year,” she said. “Just another tough loss.”
Brianna Gomez’s cutting shot from 20 yards out early in the second half proved to be the difference for Veterans (17-1).
After the Lady Warhawks’ goal, River Ridge (14-5-1) turned up the pressure on offense by moving an additional striker to the front. While the Lady Knights were able to get several shots on goal, none found the net for the equalizer.
“I told the girls we weren’t out,” Goodbread said. “We were down 1-0 and we had been down 1-0 before. I just told them not to give up.”
River Ridge trailed 1-0 and 2-1 in its second-round game with Grady before winning on penalty kicks. Goodbread was hoping for one more comeback from her girls, but she instead saw the season end a week sooner than she would have liked.
“I was hoping to be playing next Saturday in the championship, but I am proud of the girls and what they accomplished this year.”
The season did produce the first region title in River Ridge history, and Goodbread said her players played hard throughout Saturday’s game.
“They played their hearts out,” she said. “They didn’t leave anything out there on the field. I couldn’t have asked for any more effort or for them to do anything differently.”
Looking toward the future, River Ridge will return the majority of its roster, with only two seniors — Aubrey Wooten and Chanel Mosley — on the roster. There are 10 players who are either freshmen or sophomores this year, including goalkeeper Jackie Donaldson, Riley Mullen, Caitlyn Peterson and Brooke DeSantis.
“We had several freshmen who not only stared but played the majority of the games,” Goodbread said. “I have high hopes for the future.”
Next year, River Ridge will be able to write a different ending for their season, moving up to Class AAAAA as Veterans remains in Class AAAA.
Goodbread said it will be nice to have a different ending to the story, but she cautioned that there are plenty of unknowns about playing in a higher classification.
“We don’t know a lot of those teams,” she said. “We don’t know how they play. It will be unfamiliar territory for us.”