DANDRIDGE — Monday night was the unveiling of the renovated Leroy Shannon Field as the Jefferson County Lady Patriots’ soccer team was the first squad to play an official game on the new turf.
Things didn’t go as well as was hoped for, unfortunately, as the visiting Karns Lady Beavers spoiled the opening of the new look stadium with a 6-3 victory in the season opener for both teams. The Knoxville visitors scored two and a half minutes into the game and that set the tone for the evening, even though the Lady Patriots did play better in the second half after falling behind 4-2 at mid-game break.
Jefferson County coach Shawn Way said the two early Karns’ goals put his team in a tough spot from which to try and recover. “Giving up two goals in the first seven minutes was not a good way to start and then in the first 30 minutes we are down 4-1. We got one back but it’s hard to go into halftime down. Karns is a solid team that plays in a solid district. They came out and pressed the first 10 minutes and played better than we did.”
Despite the loss, Way said his team was excited to christen the new field on Monday. “We love these new facilities and we have been able to practice on the field ever since the dead period was over. We got what we wanted as we have a remodeled locker room and a new field and it’s great for both us and the football team to be able to play on it this week at home.”
“I just hope we have a better showing on Wednesday against Science Hill which is a regional opponent.”
Hannah Stafford had a shot from right in front of the goal early in the contest to make it a 1-nil early lead. Sarah Roberts added another goal for Karns as she scored on a put-back of a missed shot from the left side in the seventh minute. Momentum seemed to be in the Lady Beavers’ favor until Jefferson County caught them sleeping on defense and Molly Zander scored the Lady Patriots’ first goal of the night only 20 seconds after Roberts’ goal for Karns.
Roberts found the net for the second time on the night when she poked in a cross shot to make it 3-1 in the 24th minute. Stafford also netted her second goal of the opening half when she got past the Jeff County defense and kicked one through in the 30th minute. The home team cut the Karns lead in half late when Zoe Tolzmann took a direct kick and sent it straight over the defensive wall and past the diving Lady Beavers’ goalie to make it 4-2.
Things were quite in the second 20 minutes of play until Karns scored two goals within two minutes of each other. The first came when Emma Brummitt snuck past the Lady Patriots from about 20 yards out and capped the drive with a goal. Ryan Branson scored a goal soon afterwards on a direct kick to give Karns a commanding 6-2 advantage.
The final goal of the contest was produced by Zander when the sophomore midfielder split the Karns defense and scored from the right side in the 72nd minute. Her goal produced the 6-3 final tally.
“I like our fight in the second half as we came out and made some adjustments,” Way said of his team’s performance. “Mollie had two great goals but it doesn’t need to be her dribbling through people every time. We didn’t execute our game plan tonight and that was the most frustrating part. Defensively, we got lost at times and were sloppy in the defense but this is why, early in the season, you play non-conference games. I was proud of my young goalkeepers because Karns had a great shot ratio. But we didn’t help ourselves either.”