Science Hill ends East’s season with 4-2 victory
Morristown East’s Jacob Nolasco (5) attempts to keep Science Hill’s Jhordan Rodgers (7) away from the ball during Tuesday’s Region 1-AAA soccer semifinal match at Steve Spurrier Field in Johnson City.
JOHNSON CITY — On Tuesday night in Johnson City, the Morristown East soccer faced a daunting task trying to upset not only one of the state’s best teams, but one of the nation’s top squads.
After waiting more than an hour through a rain delay, the Hurricanes battled their hardest for 80 minutes, but saw their season close in the Region 1-AAA semifinals against Science Hill.
The Hilltoppers sent four goals into the net in the first half and picked up a 4-2 victory over the Hurricanes at Steve Spurrier Field. With the loss, the Hurricanes end their season at 11-5 overall, while Science Hill jumps to 18-0-1.
East scored two goals in the second half as Josue Tomas found the net with 11 minutes remaining. The Hurricanes also picked up an own goal due to a Science Hill player knocking a shot into the Hilltoppers’ net.
Despite the defeat, East coach James Kelley said his team battled intensely against an athletic Science Hill team.
“I was proud of the guys not only for how they played tonight, but for how well they performed this season,” said Kelley. “Morristown East soccer has not been this successful in more than a decade, so it felt great to have a strong season. You have to give it up to our senior class for bringing the program to this level of play. I am so proud of them for believing.”
Early in the contest, Science Hill showed why they are one of Tennessee’s best.
In the first 10 minutes, the Hilltoppers dominated field position, but the Hurricanes maintained their composure by stopping all scoring attempts. However, Science Hill finally broke the scoreless streak 11 minutes into the contest.
Javier Alberto found the net with an acrobatic mid-air bicycle kick on a perfectly timed corner kick for a 1-0 advantage.
Over the next 15 minutes, Science Hill continued its torrid offense attack, but luckily for the Hurricanes none of their shots found the back of net.
East’s Chris Logan found himself in great position near the keeper’s box at the 15-minute mark, but his shot attempt was deflected off a Science Hill defender before anything developed.
The Hilltoppers finally gained the advantage they were looking for with two goals just 30 seconds apart with less than six minutes showing in the first half.
Jhordan Rodgers and John Huffman both found the back of the net to up the lead to 3-0.
Hoping to finish the half only down three, the Hurricanes’ defense could not contain another surge by the Hilltoppers’ offense.
With two minutes left in the half, Lucas Altman scored on a header off a corner kick to send the Hilltoppers heading into the locker rooms up 4-0.
Kelley told his team at half that they still had a chance to win the game.
“I told the guys that this was only a high school team and they are between the ages of 14 and 18,” said Kelley. “The team came out and played extremely well the rest of the game.”
In the second half, the Hurricanes came out the gates with a quick shot on goal. Chris Logan broke loose for a decent opportunity, but was denied by the goalie. Both teams remained strong on defense before the Hurricanes scored two late goals to close out the 4-2 final.
-By Chris Ayers, Assistant Sports Editor