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D-B, Central come up short in regional soccer 

By STEVE WILMOTH, TriCitiesSports.com • Oct 18, 2017 at 12:50 AM

Dobyns-Bennett and Sullivan Central saw their respective soccer campaigns come to an end on Tuesday night in regional semifinal action on the road.

The Lady Indians fell 6-0 at Bearden in their Class AAA fixture, and the Lady Cougars came out on the short end of a 4-1 Class AA decision at Seymour.

Bearden (14-5-2) stayed alive to take on Science Hill for the Region 1-AAA championship on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Johnson City. The Lady Hilltoppers (15-3-2) slid by Knox West 2-0 on Tuesday.

Seymour (15-3-0) plays at Greeneville in Class AA after the Lady Greene Devils (14-4-3) — seeking a third consecutive state championship — made quick work of Pigeon Forge 10-0 on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs tallied a pair of first-half goals and then poured it on in the second half against the Lady Indians.

“Not many chances for us tonight,” said D-B coach Blake Rutherford. “Bearden is the real deal.”

D-B closed the season with an 11-9 record, improving on last year’s 8-9-2 campaign that included a district semifinal exit.

“This team had moments of good soccer this season,” Rutherford said. “We made improvements since last year and made significant gains from the beginning of the season until now. We just have to work to be more consistent, but I’m proud of their hard work and commitment to getting better.”

At Seymour, Central tasked the Lady Eagles for the better part of a half. Hannah Barnett tallied the Lady Cougars’ only goal, which gave them a 1-1 tie before Seymour pulled away for the victory.

“We gave our best effort,” said Central coach Emily Robinette. “I’m proud of my Lady Cougars. It’s been a great season.”

Going into the contest, Seymour had tallied 106 goals in 17 matches. With standout Lady Cougars keeper Kassidy Nelson still wearing a cast on her broken arm and the backup keeper also unavailable, Robinette turned to freshman Macy McClellan in net.

After one day of training, McClellan performed admirably against the high-scoring Lady Eagles.

“It was a great job by Macy,” Robinette noted. “That was the first time in her life she had play goalkeeper.”

After a scoreless first half in Johnson City that saw the Lady ‘Toppers fail to finish several prime scoring chances, Science Hill finally came through with a par of tallies in the final 24 minutes against West.

“We let them hang around by missing opportunities,” said Lady ‘Toppers coach David Strickland. “We had a sitter that we missed early on. Others we never put in on frame, so we were just asking their keeper to be a ball girl for us, just fetch everything for us.”

In the 57th minute, Gracie Duncan fetched a release at about 40 yards out and pushed with the dribble. Once the defense dropped back, Duncan ripped a shot at the 25-yard mark that handcuffed the Lady Rebels keeper.

“It knuckled and skipped underneath her,” Strickland said. “Caught her going the wrong way and it wrong-footed her.”

Needing the equalizer with less than eight minutes to play, West saw Science Hill’s Sydney Jordan collect a counter and muscle her way around a Lady Rebels defender and beat the keeper low to the left side.

“They were risking it going forward,” Strickland noted. “Sydney was very physical to get that goal.”

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