University High's Lowell Williams, right, is congratulated by a teammate after scoring his second goal against Sullivan South on Tuesday in Kingsport. (Ned Jilton II)
KINGSPORT — It was billed as a showdown.
It turned out to be a smackdown.
With the District 1-AA boys regular-season soccer crown on the line Tuesday, University High's Lowell Williams scored three goals in the first 17 minutes of the game and the Junior Bucs made that hold up in a 3-0 win over homestanding Sullivan South that secured the title.
"I feel like we played as a team today," said University High coach Tony Houston. "I've been telling the guys if they used teamwork on both ends of the field they would be a hard team to beat."
The Junior Bucs (2-1-1 District 1-AA) also earned a bye into the finals of the upcoming district tournament.
The final outcome was a bitter pill to swallow for the Rebels (6-8-2, 1-1-2).
"We didn't play any defense in the beginning," said South coach Keith Parker. "We changed things around in the second half and I thought we controlled the ball and outplayed them but just couldn't put the ball in the net."
Down 3-0 when the second half started, South's offense went into overdrive. The determined Rebels pressured the University High defense into 11 second-half corner kicks, but none produced a shot on goal.
South had 14 shots on goal over the final 40 minutes of play, with four of those on frame.
Junior Bucs freshman goalkeeper Luke Wexler became the man of the hour. He made four crucial saves in the second half to preserve the lead.
"There were a lot of shots in the second half that could have gone in, but my defense came up big," Wexler said.
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