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All-out effort against West secures sectional spot for Dobyns-Bennett

JACK GOODSON • Oct 29, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — A distinct contrast in mood was evident just before kickoff in Tuesday’s Region 1-AAA girls soccer match at Indian Highland Park. A vibrant Dobyns-Bennett took the field pregame — the players lively, almost too animated. Morristown West offered more of a reserved, perhaps diffident, tone. It was a hint of things to come. Tori Head was her old self, netting twice in the opening half, and the rest of the Tribe sparkled in a decisive 3-0 semifinal win. “Last year, I didn’t feel like we were hungry at this time of the year,” D-B coach Shane Calvert said. “This year, I think the girls don’t want (the season) to end.” The result Tuesday was D-B’s most significant since 2004 — the last time the Lady Indians (18-2-3) earned a berth in the TSSAA sectional round. More pressing at the moment, however, is Thursday’s Region 1 final. A familiar foe awaits the Tribe. Greeneville, which defeated Science Hill 6-1 in Tues- day’s other regional semifinal, will host the Indians. The Lady Greene Devils have defeated D-B in regional play the past four seasons. “I don’t want to say we’re going to go there and win,” Calvert said. “However, I think this was the game to get us over the hump. “If you lose on Thursday, it’s not the end of the world. Heck, it’s not the end of the season. No matter what the result is Thursday, we’re still in it and we’re still going to battle.” The Indians viciously battled Tuesday — in spite of sub-40 degree temperatures. From the opening kickoff, D-B showed more energy and willingness to get forward. Head worked free in the ninth minute, thanks to a neat through ball from Kate Jones, but her shot from 18 yards was always curling wide. It did, however, signal the Indians’ intent. Intent transformed into result four minutes later. Again, Jones and Head linked up, the latter dispatching the former’s looping ball into the penalty area past Trojans goalkeeper Sara Simerly. Head added to her tally 10 minutes from halftime, clamoring home a close-range effort from Katie Clark that Simerly could only parry back into play. “I didn’t get to play Morristown the last time we played them,” said the senior, who missed three games this month due to an infection contracted as a result of wisdom tooth extraction. “I was ready to help out this time. We wanted to show them what we really are made of, and prove to everyone in the state that we’re for real.” Sandwiched between Head’s strikes was a goal from Clark. In the 20th, the junior, relentless all night, collected a deflected crossing pass at the edge of the 18-yard box and lashed a shot to the left of Simerly. The second half saw a noticeable drop in tempo. It did not result, however, in a drop in opportunities. D-B, Head in particular, continued to thrash out chances — only for Simerly to deny at nearly every turn. The senior closed with 13 stops, many in head-turning fashion. The Lady Trojans (11-3-4) righted the ship somewhat in the second frame, but still found little to build upon. A shot four minutes from full time was not only their best effort — it was their only one of the night. “We definitely didn’t come ready to play, that’s obvious,” West coach Jennifer Murphy said. “We are the team of two halves. It bit us in the butt in the end. “If we had played the first half like we did the second half, I think maybe we would be moving on to play Thursday.” Instead, it’s the Tribe. Head is enjoying the moment. After all, this will be her first trip to a regional final. Don’t think she’s complacent, though. The all-state forward is looking for more. Much more. “Coach has been preaching for us to get hungry,” she said. “He’s also been saying that if we play for 80 minutes, we’ll get 160 more. That was our motto tonight. “We played our 80 and got 160 more. And hopefully there’s more after that.”

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