KINGSPORT — Sullivan South turned things over to its midfield Thursday. Good call.
Holding mid Juliana Valk had a hand in the Lady Rebels’ first three goals — netting twice — as they dismissed visiting Elizabethton 4-2 in a non-district girls soccer tilt.
“We play a 4-3-3 and our midfielders really connect well and work the ball around,” Valk said. “Our forwards are so fast, they’re amazing. We all kind of played off each other today.”
Valk opened the scoring after nine minutes, arriving late to deposit Lady Cyclones keeper Abby Stephenson’s parry of a Teagan Wood close- range volley into an open net.
Valk returned the favor in the 14th, setting up Wood’s lone tally of the night — a clinical 18-yard finish that shaved the inside of the near post. Valk’s second tally arrived five minutes into the second half.
Only a brilliant sprawling stop by Stephenson denied her a first career hat trick nine minutes from the end.
“Most of our team is young so for them to come out and play so well, and for us (upperclassmen) to be so comfortable with them is great,” Valk said. “It has really worked out well.”
Defender Mikki Bogan capped a fluid display from South (5-5-1) in the 49th minute with a well-taken free kick that beat Stephenson at her far post from 30 yards.
The Rebels registered 20 shots, 13 on goal. Elizabethton finished with 13, just six on target.
“It was a good game for us,” Fuchs said. “When it got a little more physical, I think the girls realized they needed to pick it up. And they really stepped forward.
“I’ve never seen them play that well except for when we played Dobyns-Bennett.”
Wholesale changes arrived for South following Bogan’s strike. In the meantime, the Lady Cyclones found their footing.
Elizabethton (7-6-2) bulged the old onion bag twice in two minutes — via Kelly Lyons and Kimberly Birkner — forcing Fuchs’ hand. His starters returned to finish out the contest.
With a possible District 1-AA decider lurking with Greeneville next week, Lady Cyclones coach Bill McClay was glad to see some life from his girls after the break.
“I think we feel pretty good,” McClay said. “I know they made some subs in the second half, but even when they brought their starters back in, we played well. We got a few goals and could’ve had a couple more.
“This is the kind of momentum we need going forward.”