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Lady ’Toppers speed to title behind Burleson hat trick

Pat Kenney, Sports Correspondent • Oct 18, 2019 at 1:29 AM

JOHNSON CITY — Science Hill wasted no time asserting its dominance in Thursday’s District 1-AAA girls soccer final at Kermit Tipton Stadium.

Lady Hilltoppers super freshman Megan Burleson scored just 35 seconds into the match and tallied another goal in the fourth minute to leave visiting Dobyns-Bennett stunned. Burleson finished with three goals in Science Hill’s dominating 4-0 victory.

“We were on top of it right from the start,” said Burleson, the tournament’s MVP. “We got all the loose balls and everyone worked so hard. I’m really proud of everyone on the team.”

The tournament finalists qualified for Tuesday’s Region 1-AAA semifinals. As the District 1 champion Science Hill (16-3-1) gets to host Knox West (9-6-3). D-B must travel to District 2 champion Bearden (17-6-1).

Science Hill coach David Strickland saw his team’s fast start as one of the keys to the win.

“Obviously, a goal in the first minute helps tremendously,” said Strickland, whose team led 2-0 at halftime. “I felt like we were on the front foot all night. Our intensity of getting after the ball was something we did very well. It was exciting to see.”

After the two quick strikes by Science Hill, the match settled down. The Lady ’Toppers continued their attacks on D-B goalkeeper Ellie Nash and only her brilliant play kept the score from getting completely out of hand.

The Lady Hilltoppers’ defense smothered the Lady Indians to the point that they could barely advance the ball across midfield. In the first half, Science Hill produced 14 shots — five of them on frame — and limited D-B to just one shot, which came on a set piece three minutes before the half.

“That early goal set us back and we had to fight hard to get back into the game,” said D-B coach Tony Weaver.

The final 40 minutes of the contest offered more of the same. The Lady Hilltoppers kept pounding the ball deep into D-B’s end of the pitch.

Burleson notched her third goal four minutes into the second half, and the air seemed to come out of the Lady Indians.

Sophia Youngman added Science Hill’s final goal in the 69th.

Nash, the District 1-AAA goalkeeper of the year, finished with 10 saves.

“Our girls know they can play,” Weaver said. “We just have to start believing in ourselves.”


District 1-AAA awards


MVP—Megan Burleson, Science Hill

Science Hill—Sarah Luna, Savannah Fields, Tori Sparks, Julia Luna

Dobyns-Bennett—Brantley Coggins, Blaire Barrett, Emilee Lane, Ellie Nash

Tennessee High—Emma Arnold

Daniel Boone—Tessa Arney

Regular-season honors

Goalkeeper of the year—Ellie Nash, Dobyns-Bennett.

Defender of the year—Tori Sparks, Science Hill.

Midfielder of the year—Savannah Fields, Science Hill.

Forward of the year—Emma Arnold, Tennessee High.

Coach of the year—David Strickland, Science Hill.

First Team All-District

Ellie Nash, GK, Dobyns-Bennett

Tori Sparks, Def, Science Hill

Savannah Fields, MF, Science Hill

Emma Arnold, F, Tennessee High

Sydney Jordan, F, Science Hill

Allie Torbett, Def, Science Hill

Julia Luna, MF, Science Hill

Maddie Runnels, F, Daniel Boone

Annabeth Parker, Def, Dobyns-Bennett

Mya Howern, F, Tennessee High

Claire Helms, MF, Tennessee High

Second Team All-District

Sarah Luna, Def, Science Hill

Mariya Brodio, MF, Daniel Boone

Londyn Horton, MF, David Crockett

Kinzee Mounger, MF, Dobyns-Bennett

Tayla Holt, MF, Dobyns-Bennett

Amelia Teri, MF, Tennessee High

Sophie Arnold, F, Tennessee High

Alyssa Suits, GK, David Crockett

Audra Steadman, Def, Dobyns-Bennett

Paige Carlsen, F, Science Hill

Emilee Lane, MF, Dobyns-Bennett