|Published: 11:30 AM, 06/05/2013
||Last updated: 11:31 AM, 06/05/2013
Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
OOLTEWAH - Call it a good news, bad news situation for
The bad news is that East Hamilton, for the second straight year in the
same Region 3-A/AA semifinal round, ended the Wildcats' season.
The good news - a series of
silver linings - begins with Sweetwater making the Hurricanes nervous for the first 40 minutes
before giving way to the 4-0 loss Tuesday at East Hamilton High School.
"We played a much
better game than we played against them last season," said Sweetwater assistant coach Kip McKeag,
referring to the Wildcats' 5-0 loss to the Hurricanes last year in which they were largely
non-competitive. "To me I felt that we were in the game. We threatened them."
inspired Hurricanes coach John Millard to give his team вЂ” which fielded 11 seniors вЂ” its own
good news, bad news scenario at halftime.
"The bad news was we possibly played the worst 40
minutes we played all season," said Millard, whose teamвЂ™s only loss so far in 2013 was to Region
2-AAA runner-up Maryville. "The good news is that we were up 1-0, and we talked about the things we
needed to change in order for us to play a little bit better, and we did play a little bit better in
the second half.
"Credit Sweetwater. They came out and worked very hard running at us and not
allowing us any time on the ball, and they were punishing us for bad first touches and bad
decisions, so it frustrated what we were trying to do."
A goal in the fifth minute by senior
Jonah Goddard put East Hamilton up early, but the Wildcats did all they could to frustrate the
вЂ™Canes and stay in the game.
But two minutes into the second half, Alex McCarney, another
senior, added the 'Canes' second goal on a free kick from the left just outside of the penalty box.
And six minutes later, Goddard rolled in his second goal from the right for a 3-0 lead, allowing
East Hamilton to finally play its ball control game, which it executed to
"John does a very good job of getting his team to possess and pass the ball
crisply and move the ball well," McKeag said. "We anticipated that. Our response to that was we were
going to try to pick up coverage.
"First few minutes of the first half and first few of the
second half we broke down in coverage and they got one in on us."
The Hurricanes outshot the
Wildcats 17-12, 9-6 on goal, not numbers that indicate complete domination. Sweetwater goalkeeper
Heath Hill had five saves.
Another bit of good news for Sweetwater is that it will not have
to see East Hamilton again in the postseason. The Hurricanes move to Class AAA next
The Wildcats lose six seniors from this seasonвЂ™s team, including All-District
player Tyler Albright, whom McKeag called the "heart of this team for the past two
Starters Pablo Reyes and Rion Wilkins, along with reserves Zac Sloan, Ricky Cano
and Andrew Birge will graduate. In addition, Garrett Zickgraf, a key defender for the Wildcats, is
But Sweetwater will also return a core that includes All-District honorees Evan
Gruenenfelder and Sammy Baker, Hill at goalkeeper and versatile defender/midfielder Harrison Harvey.
Will Skinner, a key forward who was saddled with injuries, will also return.
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