It was three decades in the making.Shelbyville Central’s Golden Eagle soccer team battled back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to claim a 3-2 victory over visiting Ooltewah in the Region 3-3A title …
It was three decades in the making.
Shelbyville Central’s Golden Eagle soccer team battled back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to claim a 3-2 victory over visiting Ooltewah in the Region 3-3A title game on Thursday night.
The Eagles will host LaVergne, who fell 2-0 to Oakland, on Saturday at 7 with a trip to the TSSAA Spring Fling up for grabs.
“We’ve had a hard time this week starting on the front foot. Ooltewah came out and dictated the tempo for much of the first half. We have to do a better job of communicating and generating the energy to play,” Shelbyville Central coach Chris Fritz said.
Alan Vesquez scored the first goal for Ooltewah followed by a goal by Ali El Mardenly off an assist by Vesquez in the first half to hold a commanding 2-0 advantage at the intermission.
“We were flat, sluggish and were making too many mistakes at the start of the game and we just had to find a way to get to halftime. Our depth allowed us to make subs and find our way out of the first half,” Fritz said. “At the halftime talk, we made some adjustments and found our normal passing rhythm in the second half. Out of the gate, you could tell the boys were more intense and determined.”
Senior Edgar Solis scored first for the Eagles to cut the lead in half.
Shelbyville Central’s second goal came off of a Daniel Juarez dribble and cross to Solis, who finished on a header to the back of the net with 16:56 left to play and even the score at 2-2.
The game-winning goal came with just over two-minutes left on the clock.
The Ooltewah goal keeper mishandled the ball off a Kolby Themm free kick that was buried by Gabriel Hernandez.
“The ability to come back from being down in an environment like this is a credit to the mentality of our boys. We talk about having the right reaction everyday at practice,” Fritz said.
“Tonight was that right reaction. We look forward to this match on Saturday night in the sectional round with a trip to the state on line with a win.”
Former Shelbyville Central soccer coach Neal Gordon started the soccer program back in 1992 and remained head coach until 2014 when he turned the duties over to Fritz.
“This has been a long time coming. So many times teams have come close. Several times in the early 2000’s teams came close to accomplishing this and each time narrowly missed. Knowing that those guys are still following us and attending our games to support us, drives our guys,” Fritz said.
“Neal loves to tell our boys about the days before lights when they played their matches on what is now our practice field. He tells the guys about how their first uniforms were actually practice kits. The facilities that he and the community built by raising money rival the best schools in the state.”
“We consistently talk about the legacy that we all leave behind in and out of soccer. Tonight , I am so proud of the way my fellow coaches and faculty stepped up to create a region championship atmosphere,” Fritz said. We had a drumline thanks to our band, an Eagle Mascot thanks to a fellow faculty member, and a tailgate thanks to our football, baseball and Spanish Clubs. Eagle nation is the real deal and we our the true family.”
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