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)


Red Bank Eliminated From State Volleyball

SMYRNA, Tenn. – The TSSAA State Volleyball tournament didn’t start off like the Red Bank Lionettes would have liked. It didn’t end like they wanted either as they got eliminated by the Lady Indians of Harpeth. Red Bank ended its season at 28-27 following the three-set 25-6, 25-16 and 25-15 loss in its second match of the day. Facing the Lady Irish from Knoxville Catholic ... (click for more)

Braves' Craig Kimbrel Named Top National League Reliever

ATLANTA -- Major League Baseball Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred presented Craig Kimbrel with the Trevor Hoffman Award as the NL's Reliever of the Year and Royals closer Greg Holland with the Mariano Rivera Award as the American League's Reliever of the Year before the Royals and Giants played Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium. This marks the ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Firm Gets $1,010,000 Contract For Overseeing VW Expansion For New SUV Line

A Chattanooga firm is getting the contract for overseeing the construction work for the new SUV line at the Volkswagen plant. Officials said the EMJ Corporation has been selected for the project that will give a new surge of activity and employment at the plant at the Enterprise South Industrial Park. The work includes additions to the body shop and tech center and adding ... (click for more)

Man Airlifted To Erlanger After Early Morning Crash In Bradley County

Bradley County EMS responded to an early morning crash Thursday at 7 a.m. at the intersection of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and Walker Valley Road in Charleston. Three ambulances and an EMS supervisor responded to the scene. There were three vehicles involved and one car left the roadway.   One adult man suffered serious injuries and it was determined that he needed ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Dear Friend Luther

One sunny morning in June years ago, the renowned radio icon Luther Masingill was on his way back to the WDEF studios on South Broad Street when he stopped for a red light and noticed a young couple in a car idling next to his familiar light blue Ford pickup. “What caught my eye was a buck-toothed boy eating a banana in the back seat,” he explained in an aside to that day’s lunchtime ... (click for more)