MURFREESBORO, Tenn - McCallie High School defeated Montgomery Bell Academy 2-0
on Thursday in the Division II Class AA State Soccer Championship.
Last season’s defeat in the final left a sour taste in the mouths of the McCallie boys, who were determined to go all the way this year.
“Almost every single one of our kids, who was on the team last year, has a screenshot of
them (Baylor) celebrating as their lock screen on their phone.” said McCallie Head Coach Chris
McCallie showed how determined they were when they scored in the opening 10 minutes
of the match. Sophomore, Neal Carlson, showed his class from a free kick, about 20 yards out,
on the right side. His low shot through traffic found the opposite corner to give the Blue Tornado
a 1-0 lead.
“He (Carlson) is a great free kick taker and he just hasn’t had one this year, but I just
knew (that he would score). He is a clutch kid and in a championship moment, that was a perfect
spot for him.” said Coach Cushenbery.
With eight minutes left in the half, sophomore, A.J. Gallup caught the MBA backline
sleeping and picked off a pass in between the center backs to be 1 on 1 with MBA goal keeper,
Brody Snell. Snell went to ground too early and Gallup punished him with a tidy finish into the
“He (Gallup) has been a guy who has had a ton of grit and energy for us. He said
‘Whatever role you need me in, I’ll do.’ He made a great read on that play to score and that was
huge.” said Coach Cushenbery.
McCallie never let MBA get into a rhythm. They won the majority of 50/50 balls and
neutralized the Big Red’s attacking threats.
With a minute to go in the match, the players on the sideline cannot help but let their
emotions out. Coach Cushenbery was telling them that they weren’t there yet and that they still
had to defend. Moments later, the players surprised Coach Cushenbery with a Gatorade shower.
The horn went off and the McCallie bench rushed the field. ‘Ole Ole’ chants filled the ears of
everyone in attendance.
McCallie has now won two of the previous three state tournaments. The Blue Tornado
will lose six seniors, but retain a strong core from this title winning team as they look forward to
next year’s conquest.