MURFREESBORO, Tenn - David Mitchell’s game is subtle. He glides along the grass and operates as an intermediary between Baylor’s staunch defenders and its myriad of attacking talents.
He will shoot when he has an opportunity, but Mitchell also knows the team benefits from his ability to ping balls to runners. He was instrumental in Baylor’s quarterfinal 3-1 win over rival McCallie, and now the Red Raiders are one victory against Father Ryan away from claiming another state championship.
“I thought he did really well at doing simple things,” coach Blair said, while Mitchell said, “We just wanted to get things done, and move on and continue.”
The score was either within one score or tied for most of the match, but that statistic does not display how dominant Baylor appeared for much of the game.
The Red Raiders put up 21 shots to McCallie’s seven, and the Blue Tornado spent swaths of the contest doing everything they could to stop Baylor from scoring.
On the other side were the Red Raiders, led by forward tandem of Gui Gragnano and Phelipe Spielman. Spielman shredded McCallie down the left wing, and he opened up the scoring in the 30th minute by cracking one past the McCallie keeper. The Red Raiders had also missed a number of easy chances.
“We felt like we created chances in the first half, enough that we should have put them away in the first half,” coach Blair said. “But McCallie’s coaches do a great job of getting those guys organized when they’re sitting back.”
McCallie’s playmaker Daniel Anderson and company did their best to get a ball past Baylor keeper Zach Ubamadu, and they succeeded at the very end of the half. A McCallie player was fouled in the box, and Gordon Lewis stepped up to take the penalty kick. McCallie’s blue contingent of fans roared in approval as the 39th minute stunner sent the game into halftime tied at one apiece.
This deadlock lasted through halftime and 15 minutes into the second section. Mohammed Wumpini, who his coach had called a sparkplug during last week’s game, played 54 high-energy minutes and scored a goal in the 55th minute to put Baylor back on top.
Baylor then iced the game ten minutes later, with Gragnano being the one to send Baylor’s bitter rivals back to Chattanooga with a goal (and celebration that drew a yellow card for picking up the corner flag and waving it around).
Baylor will play Father Ryan on Thursday at 6:30.
“We’ve said all year long, it’s not about who we play, it’s about us and how we play,” coach Blair said. “If we move the ball, then we can be very successful. We have to commit to our style of play.”
“We came out and did what we needed to do to win,” Mitchell said. “We’re very good at attacking, and when we work together, no one can stop us.”
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