BRISTOL — Science Hill blitzed Dobyns-Bennett with three goals in four minutes and twenty seconds to win the District 1-AAA girls’ soccer championship 4-2 on Thursday at Tennessee High’s Stone Castle.
Rallying from a 2-1 deficit, the Lady Hilltoppers (18-1) used the trio the quick strikes to earn the championship trophy and home field for next Tuesday’s Region 1-AAA semifinals.
“Something big always happens when we play D-B,” said Science Hill head coach Megan Harmon. “We’ve been fortunate to be on the positive end of that something big the past couple of years, but it’s always exciting, always fun and always a battle. We wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Down 2-1 in the 55th minute, the Lady Hilltoppers’ Jessica Fabozzi nearly tied the game with a shot which hit the crossboard. Not to be deterred, tournament MVP Dani Cade put in a corner kick from Paige Stull seconds later for the game-tying goal
Timbra Delaney added the go-ahead score a minute later with a shot from 18 yards out, while a high arcing kick from 28 yards by Taylor Newsom went over the head of D-B goalkeeper Maria Matlock for an insurance goal and a 4-2 lead.
“There were no words for it,” Cade said about Science Hill’s quick strikes. “I’m just so excited and so happy. I don’t even know who scored other than me, when I got my goal.”
Harmon said it helped that her team had to rally from a 2-1 deficit to beat Sullivan Central in Tuesday’s semifinal game.
“We talked in practice that the best part of Tuesday was we learned a lesson from it,” Harmon said. “That adversity of being down a goal, we saw it again tonight. Our girls knew how to handle it. They reacted very well to it.”
Dobyns-Bennett (9-8-3) was able to shorten the game in the first half, keeping the action near midfield with no shot attempts for the first 19 minutes.
The game’s first shot didn’t come until the 20:24 mark when the Lady Indians’ Erin Burkett scored on a header off an assist from Leslie Stroud.
Science Hill wasn’t able to get its first shot off until the 23rd minute Fabozzi sent a high arching shot toward the goal.
The Lady Toppers had four more attempts the rest of the first half, three by Delaney and one by Rachel Jones. After a handball was ruled against the Lady Indians’ Maggie Burkett, Delaney knotted the game by getting a penalty kick past D-B goalkeeper Maria Matlock in the 39th minute.
Dobyns-Bennett retook the in 49th minute when Science Hill goalkeeper Jona Charles was ruled outside the box. It led to a pair of free kicks, and a scrum from which Jacqui Payne was able to emerge with a short boot for a 2-1 Lady Indian lead.
“I told the girls it was 90 percent there,” D-B head coach Chris Woods said. “But I looked them in the eyes and told them we didn’t do what we needed to do to win a championship. That’s the first battle to understand what it takes to win the hardware.
“We were one pass shy on some attacks. The build-up was there, and it was a point where we lacked patience. Hats off to Science Hill, they fought through everything we threw at them.”
It was particularly true in the second half when Science Hill stayed on the attack. It allowed the Lady ‘Toppers to end with a 15-5 advantage in shot attempts including a 9-3 advantage in shots on goal.
Delaney was particularly aggressive with a game-high six shots and two goals.
“We were aggressive and both teams were getting pushed around,” Delaney said. “The teams this week have stepped their games a lot. In turn, we’ve had to step up ours to keep winning.”
Science Hill will host Jefferson County next Tuesday in a rematch of last year’s region semifinal, won 2-0 by the Lady ‘Toppers. Dobyns-Bennett will go on the road to face Morristown West, which captured the District 2 title with a 1-0 win Thursday night.