D-B’s Thomas Palmer (23) passes the ball to teammate Jeremy Horton (4) during Tuesday's Region 1-AAA match in Kingsport. (Ned Jilton II photo)
KINGSPORT — It’s postseason soccer and Dobyns-Bennett is taking care of business.
D-B midfielder Thomas Palmer scored three goals to lead the Tribe to a 4-1 victory over visiting Seymour in the Region 1-AAA semifinals at Indian Highland Park on Tuesday.
With the win, Dobyns-Bennett (19-2-1) will host Science Hill (15-5-1) on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the regional final. The Hilltoppers traveled to Morristown West and blanked the Trojans 3-0.
The Indians got on the board early when Palmer took a cross from Sheldon Menya and slipped the ball past Eagles goalkeeper Chris Grimo for a 1-0 advantage.
From that point, Seymour (16-6-1) kept D-B in check with a defensive formation that allowed the Tribe little penetration.
But with less than a minute to go in the first half, Palmer sent a free kick toward the Eagles’ goal. Into the wind, the ball floated a bit and rose over the outstretched hands of Grimo, and D-B took a 2-0 lead into the halftime break.
“That goal right before half was bad,” said Seymour coach Drew Payne. “If we start the second half down just one goal, maybe we had a chance for the upset.”
Seymour’s Michael Clemons narrowed the deficit to 2-1 in the 52nd minute, but the Eagles could get no closer.
As if awakened by that goal, the Tribe went on a tear.
Palmer tallied his third goal of the match in the 57th minute on an assist from Jorge De Gyves. De Gyves put away the game six minutes later with a monstrous blast that blew by Grimo, making the score 4-1.
The win was D-B’s 13th in a row. During that stretch, the Tribe has outscored its opponents 82-10.
D-B’s defense allowed only two shots on goal by Seymour.
“Our back line is so strong,” said D-B centerback Austin Pate. “We can be more aggressive knowing there’s so much support around each of us.”
Palmer seemed to be in the right place all night — and his goal total could have been greater. He had one called back for offsides and just missed another tally late in the game.
“I had some fantastic balls from Sheldon and Jorge right to the back post,” Palmer said. “It was just my night.
“We have so many people who can score, it puts a great deal of pressure on the opposing defenders.”
“D-B does so many things well,” the coach added. “They have so many good players. All I kept thinking late in the game was how much fun it must be to play on a team like that.”
Tribe coach Chris Woods liked what he saw from his team in the second half.
“The first 40 minutes wasn’t up to our standards,” Woods said. “Give Seymour credit for that. Their tactics against us were the best we’ve seen all year.
“We stressed at halftime to go out and do the simple things well,” he added. “That’s what all good teams do.”
“He was the man of the match,” Woods said.