KINGSPORT — Miserable conditions did little to deter the Dobyns-Bennett girls soccer team from the task at hand Tuesday night.
Kate Jones’ first-half hat trick highlighted a comprehensive performance as the Lady Indians advanced to the final round of the Region 1-AAA tournament with an 8-2 win over Seymour at Indian Highland Park.
The Tribe (15-3-1) will host Sullivan South — which eliminated South-Doyle 2-1 — on Thursday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“We’re starting to hit our peak,” D-B coach Shane Calvert said. “We’ve talked about hitting it when the playoffs start. We dodged a bullet last Tuesday night (against Tennessee High). We played much better last Thursday, and even better tonight.
“We’ve talked about putting 80 minutes together,” he added. “For the most part, we did that tonight.”
The Lady Indians did so despite the conditions. Rainfall throughout the day and into the night battered the field at Indian Highland. It left both sets of players with more than an opponent to worry about. One puddle, on the near-side midfield touchline, stunted its fair share of buildups over the evening.
D-B, however, navigated its way through the slosh with relative ease. Jones opened the scoring in the 11th minute, lashing a 20-yard free kick past Seymour goalkeeper Kelsey Fleming.
Jones’ second, after 24 minutes, was even better.
Katie Clark played provider, laying the ball into the path of Jones. The senior midfielder did the rest, beating Fleming at her far post with a scintillating effort from 25 yards.
“Kate played a great game, and Katie Clark — I don’t think she scored but, man, she made a lot happen,” Calvert said. “Our back four played really well. We did a lot of things we needed to do tonight. We’re starting to play the soccer we need to play.”
That they are.
Clark set up three goals, while Kara Brockwell and Sydney DeVinney each bagged a brace. DeVinney, a freshman, capped the scoring for the Tribe in the 58th minute with a nice individual effort that clipped the far post before nestling into the back of the net.
Gina Strickland also scored for the Lady Indians, following up a Clark shot that Fleming could only parry back into play after 50 minutes.
“We played smart, and that’s the thing we really focused on,” Calvert said. “We knew the weather was going to be like this. There were going to be some frustrations, but we kept our head and stayed the course.”
Hosting Thursday night’s regional final is no doubt a plus for Calvert. He would still like to add another home date to the calendar, however — this one to accommodate Saturday’s sectional round.
“We get to host Thursday, which is great, but we’d love to get the opportunity to host on Saturday,” said Calvert, who is leaving the program after this season.