East Hamilton Wins First 5-AAA Soccer Title

Hurricanes Defeat Ooltewah 1-0 In District Final

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - by Jaime Barrett

The district is different, but the result was the same for the East Hamilton boys' soccer team Thursday night.

The Hurricanes, newcomers to 5-AAA this season, won a fourth straight district title at Ooltewah, and did it without ever sending a ball into the net.

15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 10pt;" dir="ltr">

After an Ooltewah own goal in the 30th minute gave East Hamilton a 1-0 lead, the Hurricanes' defense helped turn the Owls' heartbreak into another title celebration for coach John Millard's team.

He credited forward Jack Fletcher with creating the pressure that led to the score, and keeper Taylor Vanzant and the Hurricanes' backs for preserving the 1-0 lead.

"We'll take it any way we can get it," Millard said. "I think that was really a product of hard work from Jack up top. If he's not pressuring that, then there's not the confusion. One goal changes the game, however it happens. Obviously we would not have been able to play the way we chose to play the rest of the way if we didn’t get that goal. As soon as we got it, I had faith in our backs and Taylor in goal to be able to defend well, stay organized, and make it really tough for them to find a chance."

The Owls won their regular-season meeting with East Hamilton by a 3-2 margin, and coach Rick Adolph said his team responded quickly after Thursday's mistake with just over 10 minutes left in the first half. But after the Hurricanes dropped back to focus on defense, offensive opportunities became hard for Ooltewah to come by.

"We played so well," Adolph said. "It's just a tough break. We've gone down a goal often this year, and we've bounced right back. But as soon as they scored, he dropped everyone back and made sure we didn't get behind them. That made it a little more difficult for us, but we still were creating some good chances. It just wasn't meant to be, but the guys played hard and did what I asked them to do."

It was the second consecutive intense road game for the East Hamilton team, which had grown accustomed to playing the postseason at home after five successful years in Class A/AA. The Hurricanes advanced with a 2-1 semifinal victory at Cleveland on Tuesday, and expected another challenge in the championship match.

"We knew that to come here and win would be really tough, particularly after such an emotional game at Cleveland," Millard said. "In five years, I don't know that we've gone on the road twice and won two games for a district title. I'm super impressed and proud of how they kept their composure, played hard and challenged every ball. When you do that, good things can happen."

The Owls continued battling throughout the second half, and their pressure paid off with several dangerous scoring chances in the final 10 minutes, but Vanzant made the saves to preserve the Hurricanes' shutout.

"I really thought we were going to get one," Adolph said. "We changed formations to try to get more pressure on their backs. We got through a couple of times but were just a little off. They really made it tight back there, but I thought our guys played smart enough to get through. It's a tough loss, but we know that we're playing again. If we can take care of business next week, then there's a good chance we can see them again."

The Owls (13-3-3) must travel to face District 6 champion Cookeville in the Region 3-AAA semifinals on Tuesday, while East Hamilton will host runner-up White County. The Hurricanes (9-7-2) will be trying for their first region title after moving up a division this year.

“It feels good,” Millard said. “It was a huge challenge for us. I've seen this team really grow up over the course of the season. We're very young, but I've seen guys step up and play well. I really feel like we've created a culture here that helps up be successful on the field, and I'm proud of them.”

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




PREP SCHEDULE

(Please notify us of any schedule changes and times as well as game and match scores at news@chattanoogan.com) Softball: MONDAY, APRIL 23 Soddy Daisy at Baylor 5 p.m.  Notre Dame at Silverdale 5 p.m.   TUESDAY, APRIL 24 Tyner at Brainerd Sequatchie Co. at Notre Dame Howard at Hixson Red Bank at East Ridge Riverdale at Baylor ... (click for more)

Covenant Men's Tennis Team Receive USA South Sportsmanship Award

 For a second consecutive year, the Covenant men's tennis team was voted as the USA South Sportsmanship Award winner for the sport, as the conference released its spring team sportsmanship winners on Friday, April 20. With the men's tennis program earning the award, Covenant clinched a share of the USA South Sportsmanship Trophy for a fifth consecutive year. Covenant has ... (click for more)

Man Who Killed 4 At Waffle House Is In Custody

Travis Reinking, 29, the suspect in the shooting at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday, has been taken into custody, according to police. Reinking, who killed four people and injured two others at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday morning was on the loose Monday morning and had been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. ... (click for more)

Man Says He Was Beaten With Hammer For "Disrespecting" Woman

A man told police he was beaten in the head and face with a hammer after he allegedly "disrespected" a woman earlier in the day. Bobbie J. Boston, 62, of 2819 Morgan Ave., was charged with aggravated burglary. Police said they took out warrants against Derrick Boston for aggravated burglary and aggravated assault. In the incident early Friday morning, a resident of Cannon ... (click for more)

Set Up A Council On Love, Not A Council On Hate

In Mayor Berke's April 19 version of the Berke Bulletin, he announced plans to establish a Council on Hate and indicated a focus on tolerance. I beg of him to reconsider that plan. One problem in Chattanooga and in other places in America is that there are some people who have already established an informal version of a Council on Hate. I suggest that a more productive plan ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Always Know The Facts

I adore the fact so many of America’s high school and college students are very active in our battle against violence in our schools but bemoan the fact that when you combine youth and ‘lack of experience’ they often are misguided and ill-informed. The best example came on Saturday when a reporter for Campus Reform walked around the Cal State-Santa Barbara campus asking the students ... (click for more)