Signal Mountain Falls In State Soccer Opener

Top-ranked Eagles Lose 2-1 To No. 2 CAK

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - by Jaime Barrett
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Signal Mountain boys' soccer team made it all the way to the Class A/AA state quarterfinals without ever losing a game, earning a No. 1 state ranking in the process.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the state-tournament draw pitted them against the second-ranked team, two-time defending champion Christian Academy of Knoxville. And Tuesday night at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex, CAK moved one step closer to a third straight title with a 2-1 victory over Signal Mountain.

"They're a good team that can possess the ball and keep it on a big, wide field," Eagles coach Richard Northcutt said. "We knew all season long that playing a team like that was going to be a challenge for us. We really hadn't run into anyone who could do that as well as they could. I wish we had, because we could've made the mistakes then. We've tried to prepare for it, but it's not really the same."

Signal Mountain opened its first-ever state tournament match with a goal in the opening minute from Connor Apthorp, but had trouble building momentum after taking the early lead. Northcutt said the early advantage didn't actually turn out to be much of one for his team. 

"You'd rather score than not score, you'd rather have a goal than not have a goal, but I'm not sure how much it really helped us," he said. "It may have put us on defense a little too much."

CAK recovered quickly, and created a number of scoring opportunities throughout the first half. Signal Mountain keeper Adam Pickett made several key saves, but with 8:21 remaining in the period, the Warriors' Dallas Dunn worked one by him for the equalizer.

Then, six minutes into the second half, CAK's Matt Zaczyk finished a corner kick from Wade Crutchfield for what proved to be the deciding goal. With about three minutes remaining, Signal Mountain pulled Pickett, replacing him with Brendan LaBarge in the field in an attempt to create more offense, a move that nearly paid off.

The Eagles had several extremely dangerous chances in the final minutes, but could never get the shot they needed to send the match to overtime. 

"I was impressed with our guys even to the very end," Northcutt said. "We did the goalkeeper switch, which we've talked about but never actually tried, and I think we pulled it off. It got us three chances that we wouldn't have had. It was desperate, score or go home time, so we went for a little spark. We came close. We were within a play here or a shot there, and that's all you can really ask."

The loss was the first of the season for Signal Mountain, which ended the year at 17-1-2. Although disappointed with Tuesday's outcome, the Eagles recognize how much they accomplished in this historic season, which featured the school's first district and region titles in boys' soccer, as well as the first state-tournament appearance.

"We did a lot of things right," Northcutt said. "We had a strong season. We've had great leadership from our group of seniors. They kept us working hard the whole time, and that makes for a good season. I think we went about as far as we could go. There's nothing to be ashamed of; we just have to congratulate the winners and say good game. We put up the best fight we could."

Signal Mountain will lose nine seniors from its state-tournament team, but the Eagles' underclassmen will have the opportunity to build on the foundation of success the seniors  created for the program this year.

"These guys who didn't get to play much today will be relied on next season," Northcutt said. "They need to start getting better, and hopefully they will want to do as well as these guys, and win as many games as they did. They've got a year to get ready."

(E-mail Jaime Barrett at jaimenbarrett@gmail.com)


Nashville Predators Win Western Conference At Home, Will Play For Stanley Cup

The Nashville Predators became Western Conference champions Monday night at Bridgestone Arena, defeating the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the series. The final score was 6-3, with Preds Centerman Colton Scissons recording a hat trick in the game that will lead Nashville to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.  Despite the fact Anaheim lead the Preds for shots ... (click for more)

Holley Earns Low Pro Honors At Windstone

Tad Holley shot 69 Monday and earned low-pro honors in the Chattanooga Chapter TN PGA Pro-Am at the Windstone Golf Club. Monday's Results Low Professional: 1st: (69) Tad Holley 2nd: (70) Robin Boyer Professional Skins: #1 & #11 Brandon Merritt, #7 & #14 Tad Holley Low Amateur: (71) Matt Hadden & Jay Potter Amateurs Skins: #1 Jess Lee, #4 Mike D Johnson ... (click for more)

Woman Found In Trunk Of Wrecked Car In Hixson Had Been Shot Multiple Times

A woman whose body was found in the trunk of a car after a wreck on Norcross Road in Hixson on April 7 had been shot multiple times, it was testified on Tuesday. Charges that included criminal homicide were bound to the Grand Jury against  Joshua Mincy, 25. He was also charged with aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm (convicted felon), ... (click for more)

Defense Attorney Wants To Take Jury To Scene Of 2015 Deadly I-75 Crash

Erin O'Leary of the public defender's office said Tuesday she wants to take the jury in the Benjamin Brewer case to the stretch of I-75 where six people were killed in a 2015 crash.   Judge Don Poole said a written motion should be filed on the request.   A jury will be picked on June 12 in Davidson County for the trial of the truck driver charged in a deadly ... (click for more)

Tennessee Business Expansions On Rise Across State

In 2016, Tennessee was named State of the Year for Economic Development by Southern Business & Development Magazine based on project totals and the variety of industries that invested in the state and created jobs. To a great extent, Bradley and Polk Counties have benefited from that investment.   From February 2015 to February 2016, Cleveland/Bradley County led the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Public Defender And The Mental Health Court

I am holding in my hand a list of the names of 50 very real people who cost the taxpayers of Hamilton County a combined $3,037.090 in incarceration charges before July 2015. These people live in our county and I dare say it is not completely their fault that they were put in the county jail. Each has a professionally-diagnosed mental illness and today, most regretfully, the County ... (click for more)