Tennessee Headed To College World Series Title Game After 4-1 Win Over Aggies

Walker Valley Soccer Heads To Its First Spring Fling

Mustangs Edge Rockvale In Class 3A Sectional Match

  • Sunday, May 19, 2024
  • Earl Freudenberg
ROCKVILLE — A season of "firsts" continued for the Walker Valley soccer Mustangs Saturday, not only playing in, but also winning their initial TSSAA Sectional match to punch their ticket for their inaugural Spring Fling berth.
Having to go to overtime for the four straight postseason battle, senior Bryan College signee Grey Davies beat the Region 4 champion Rockvale goalkeeper on a second overtime penalty kick for a 2-1 victory.
"Our substate win over Rockvale was another history making moment for our program," related top Herd wrangler Ethan Taylor.
"After going the entire season without a tie we have now had to play four overtime games in a row.
"It was truly a team win, with 16 different players getting substantial minutes. I could not be more proud of how resilient our boys have been. Their mental toughness and ability to overcome adversity is even more impressive than their physical abilities," he assessed.
"Heading to the 'Boro for the Spring Fling has been a goal of ours since preseason conditioning. We have been striving to add to the success from our girl's season, who also made it to the state tournament (for the first time in October)."
The Mustangs (13-9) won the District 5-4A Tournament Championship and advanced to the Region 3 finals for the first time in program history this season.
Opening the Elite Eight at the State Championships Tuesday at 5:30 (EDT), Walker Valley (13-9) will square off with seventh-ranked Bearden (18-3-1).
The Bulldogs are coming off a 1-0 Sectional victory over previously unbeaten Region 1 champ Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett (16-1-2).
Also making the state field are 10th-ranked Hendersonville (13-2-3) and No. 14 Rossview (13-4-2), the winner of which will be second round matchup for the Herd if they get past Bearden.
The rest of the Elite Eight includes Science Hill (6-9) taking on Region 3 champ and 11th-ranked Howard, a 2-1 winner over LaVergne in Saturday's substate; plus top-ranked Houston (18-0-1) squaring off with No. 3 Ravenwood (14-4-2).
Play will continue with semifinal matches Wednesday at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro, before the state title match Friday afternoon at 2:30 in the Stadium.
After scoreless regulation play Saturday at the home of Region 4 champion Rockvale (13-7-1), both teams were able to find the nylon in the first overtime.
Walker Valley netted the first goal midway through the first extra period off when junior Alex Lakatosh put a corner kick on goal that Tennessee Wesleyan signee Brayden Hargraves put past the Rocket goalkeeper.
Rockvale answered two minutes later to knot the score once again.
Going to the second overtime Davies delivered the game-winner with his ninth goal of the season, to with four assists.
TWU signee Jake Arntz and fellow senior Graham Delmotte lead the squad with 10 goals on the campaign with eight and four assists respectively.
A three-time All-District honoree, Arntz was voted the 5-4A Midfielder of the Year this season. Davies has also been named All-District the past three seasons, with the pair making All-Region once each, with this year's honors yet to be announced.
Lakatosh has helped the Herd offense with a half dozen goals and eight assists, while junior Stone Davis has garnered four scores and five helps.
Walker Valley has netted 51 goals this season by 13 different Stallions, with a dozen handed out 43 assists.
Mustang defenders senior Eli Wilson and Hargraves have spearheaded nine Mustang shutouts this season. Wilson is a three-time All-District honoree and named the 5-4A Defender of the Year this season, while Hargraves was chosen All-District this spring.
Senior Christian Franz, who has also sign to play at TWU, has a half dozen helps and a goal.
Allowing just 29 goals against, the Mustang goalkeepers sophomore Jason Osorie and freshman Josue Osorio have made 38 saves so far this season.
After opened the season with three straight losses in the Smoky Mountain Shootout, Walker Valley bounced back galloping to seven straight wins, including sweeping through the Cleveland Classic unscathed.
Stumbling with a five losses in a six-game span, including four one-goal defeats, the Herd capped the regular season with a 1-0 win over county rival Bradley Central and turned things around for the postseason, having won four of five, with the lone loss being to Howard 1-0 in overtime in the Region 3 title match.


(Contact Joe Cannon at joe.cannon@clevelandbanner.com)

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