(Photos by Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
When Science Hill last met University High in soccer, it was a preseason scrimmage and the Buccaneers held the Hilltoppers to one goal.
Thursday night at Civitan Park, the Hilltoppers were 10 times better.
Scoring five goals in each half, Science Hill rolled to a 10-0 win. The unbeaten Hilltoppers improved to 11-0-1 on the season.
The 1-0 contest in the preseason wasn’t much different from a shots-and-opportunities perspective. But this time, Science Hill found the net.
“It was just a matter of finishing,” said Science Hill head coach Brandon Kind. “We had a lot of shots that didn’t fall last time.”
It was a level effort for the Hilltoppers, who avoided the spikes and drops normally associated with a blowout win.
“We tried to keep a consistent tempo,” said Kind. “We tried to speed our play up, and keep good habits. Our game Saturday got canceled, so we wanted to get some good minutes tonight, and I think we did that.”
Science Hill’s defenders didn’t have a busy night as the Hilltoppers kept the ball on UH’s side of the field for the majority of the game. But sweeper Noah Schaftlein said he was glad to see the offensive outburst from his teammates.
“We had a lot of chances in that 1-0 scrimmage, and that was in the back of our minds coming into this one,” said Schaftlein. “This is a city rivalry, and we wanted to put our best foot forward. We believe we’re the best team around here, and we’re going to go all the way this year.”
Included in the first-half scoring mix was a nice header by Lucas Altman, and a heads-up recovery and finish from Connor Wilson after a deflected shot. Also, Andrew Carter knocked one into the left side of the net just before halftime. Altman connected for his second goal early in the second half, and Wilson got one in the net in the second half as well.
On the other side of the coin, UH is trying to keep its season headed in the right direction. The Buccaneers went through an in-season coaching change recently as Tony Houston took over from Victor Chirica. Houston said he could not comment on the reason for the change, but said he wants to see his team stay the course.
“No. 1, we want to stick together as a team,” said Houston. “All teams go through hardships. No. 2, we want to play hard and finish the season strong.”
The Science Hill game was just a matter of having trouble against a talented team, said Houston.
“Science Hill is a great team with a lot of great players,” said Houston. “I felt our defense played great, but Science Hill has a lot of speed on the outside. And when they had chances to finish, they did.”