After years of living in the shadows of soccer giants Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett, playing on ETSU's spacious field gave Sullivan South the kind of fresh-air breath it needed to capture a district title.
Creighton Shivell was the point man, using his head to left the Rebels to a 2-1 victory over University High in the championship game at Summers-Taylor Stadium on Thursday.
Shivell scored on a pair of headers as the Rebels capped off their first year in 1-A/AA with a title.
South (9-8-2) will play host to Chuckey-Doak in Tuesday's Region 1-A/AA semifinal contest. University High (4-7-1) will travel to take on District 2-A/AA champion Greeneville, which improved to 13-3-1 with a 5-0 win over Doak.
All of the goals for UH and South came in a span of four minutes early in the first half. The Rebels struck first as Cole Killen delivered a cross and Shivell headed it into the net.
One minute later, University High's Ramiro Rodriguez got an open look from the top of the box in the middle of the field and ripped it into the net to tie the game.
Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, Shivell still had a direct line of sight two minutes later. He caught Colton Young's cross with his head and banged it true to give the Rebels the final score of the game with 66 minutes still remaining.
Shivell said he was unimpeded to the ball on both scoring occasions.
“They didn't mark us, and when I made a run on the back side I was wide open,” said Shivell. “(Each cross) was a perfect ball. On a big field with all of this space, there was plenty of time to get a good ball across.”
South head coach Keith Parker said the goals were something his team was looking for after spending a big portion of the season on a small home field.
“We talked about it all week,” said Parker. “With the width of the field, we wanted to cross the ball to the far post. We like a big field.”
For UH head coach Tony Houston, it was partially a matter of some missing weapons — most notably Lowell Williams, who posted a hat trick before suffering an injury in the 3-0 win over South just nine days ago and did not play in this game.
“We're still dealing with key injuries,” said Houston, who took over as head coach in the middle of the season. “But South has a good team. I feel this rivalry building up. I thought our kids battled to the end, and gave it their all.”comments powered by Disqus