For the second straight season the defending state soccer champion will not make the trip to Murfreesboro.
Science Hill eliminated the titleholder on Saturday with a 4-1 victory over Hardin Valley in a Class AAA sectional at Kermit Tipton Stadium.
The win, which sends the Hilltoppers to the Spring Fling for the second consecutive season, also avenged Science Hill’s loss to Hardin Valley in last year’s state championship match.
“It means a lot, this team has been through a lot,” Science Hill head coach Brandon Kind said after the match. “It has extra meaning because of the history. Although we knew that we couldn’t play with just pure emotion. We had to be smart. We knew they were a good team, but it feels great.”
Last season, the 2010 state champion, Hendersonville, was also eliminated in the sectional round. Hendersonville lost in the regional final this year.
Science Hill improved to 16-5-1 with the victory and needs to win out at the Spring Fling to match last year’s 19-win season.
“We expect that every game will be tough, but we’re prepared for it,” Kind said about the expected field at the Spring Fling. “We’ve been in tough situations. This is a time that you need that.”
Wilfred Williams put Science Hill up with his goal in the 15th minute. He played the through ball and turned it into the score.
“It’s the gift and curse. It’s great, but it’s a situation where you can be a victim of success and become complacent,” Kind said about getting the early lead.
In the 34th minute freshman Javier Alberto deposited the first of his two goals. Alberto placed the loose ball into the net from outside the 18-yard box. He later scored in the 67th minute from the corner of the six-yard box.
That insurance score came shortly after Hardin Valley failed to capitalize on a scoring opportunity in front of Science Hill’s net a minute earlier.
Miller Franklin tacked on another score for Science Hill in the 73rd minute. He crossed the goalkeeper up and put the ball into the left side of the net.
Hardin Valley did get a goal from reserve Adam Sturgeon five minutes before the final whistle. He snuck by the defense for the score.
That was the only blemish against Andrew Kenneson in his final match on Steve Spurrier Field. The ’Topper keeper recorded six saves.
Hardin Valley, the District 3AAA champion and Region 2AAA runner up, ended the season at 11-7-2.