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Lady Hilltoppers stymie Tennessee High for 1-AAA crown

Johnny Wilson • Oct 11, 2018 at 9:48 PM

KINGSPORT — After wading through the Big Five Conference and barely breaking a sweat, the Science Hill girls soccer team strolled to the District 1-AAA championship Thursday night with a 3-0 shutout of Tennessee High.

Riley Cox scored two goals to propel the Hilltoppers (16-2-1), earning tournament MVP honors in the process.

The top-seeded Hilltoppers led 1-0 at halftime and were in control all evening.

"We talked about it before the game," veteran SHHS head coach David Strickland said. "You can look like you're going to win on paper, but you've still got to go out and execute and win the game."


A senior forward, Cox accepted a beautiful feed from junior Paige Carlsen to break a scoreless tie with 11:30 left in the first half.

Then, in the 48th minute, Cox again delivered on a perfect pass from Carlsen.

"She played me through on the first one — it was a beautiful ball," said Cox, who was also the district tourney MVP as a sophomore. "Then on the second one she beat her defenders and found me at the top of the box.

"Usually it's the other way around, me assisting her."


Strickland said the terrific mesh between Carlsen and Cox didn't happen by accident and was quick to credit his fourth-year assistant, Ron Kind.

"Ron doesn't get a lot of credit out front but he does a ton of work in the background, kinda behind the curtain," Strickland said. "Yesterday he spent a ton of time working on finishing and creating goals, and it paid off today.

"It's stuff like we were working on yesterday quite a bit and those two (Cox and Carlsen) were connected — and quite a few were connected. It really worked out well today the way they found each other out there."


Lina Powell, a junior, scored the game's other goal with a one-time blast with 17:31 left to play.

Hilltopper junior Haley Elrod, meanwhile, pitched a shutout in goal.


Science Hill opens Region 1-AAA play at home Tuesday evening against the loser of tonight's District 2-AAA final between Jeff County and Knox Bearden.

THS (8-9) travels in the opening round, playing the Jeff County-Bearden winner.


Joining Cox on the all-tournament team at Indian Highlands Park were teammates Sydney Jordan, Savannah Fields, Gracie Duncan, Tori Sparks and Elrod, Tennessee High's Mya Howren, LynLeigh Rhodes, Emma Arnold and Kyra Littleford, and Dobyns-Bennett's McKenzie Guest.

The All-Big Five Conference team was also announced, with Elrod earning Goalkeeper of the Year honors and Sparks earning Defender of the Year status.

Tennessee High's Arnold was chosen Forward of the Year and D-B's Guest was selected Midfielder of the Year. Strickland was the Coach of the Year.

Also on the all-conference team were Cox, Duncan, Fields and Science Hill teammate Allie Torbett, Tennessee High's Arnold, Howren and Rhodes, as well as Guest and Dobyns-Bennett teammate Emilee Lane.

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