Oneida jumped to a 2-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 5-1 win over Greenback in the Region 2-A semifinals on Tuesday (Oct. 19), qualifying for the Class A substate round for a fifth consecutive season.
Aliyah Douglas scored a pair of goals to pace the Lady Indians, while Alexea Jones got the scoring started. Caroline Keeton scored a second half goal to make the score 4-0. Claire Burress scored late, setting the final score at 5-1.
One of Douglas’s goals was assisted by Keeton. The other was scored on a corner kick that curved neatly into the goal from the right side of the field.
With the win, Oneida advances to host Cumberland Gap on Thursday in the region championship game. That game will be a rematch of the district championship game a week earlier, which saw the Lady Indians shock the Panthers 5-4 after losing to them 6-3 in the regular season.
Tuesday’s semifinal elimination game was never really in doubt. Oneida out-shot Greenback 14-3 in the first half and 12-5 in the second half, and the Cherokees weren’t able to score until the Lady Indians began subbing late in the game.
“I was a little bothered by our energy in the first half because we were getting looks but taking them with no aggression,” said Oneida coach Phil Newport. “It felt like we were settling against a good goalie. We talked about that at halftime and did better with taking it deeper.”
Jones got the scoring started by Oneida just 10 minutes into the game. Douglas scored Oneida’s other first half goal.
“Maybe we were looking ahead, but we were sharper in the second half,” Newport said. “I have to believe our kids were anticipating an easier match and I reminded them that isn’t the way we do business.”
Newport said he doesn’t think a lack of focus will be an issue for Thursday’s game.
“We know Gap will be motivated for this next one,” he said. “I expect we will be too.”
Thursday’s game will not be an elimination game. Both teams will go on to play in the Class A sectionals on Saturday. However, the outcome is important because the winner will get to host Saturday’s game, and will likely avoid Alcoa.
Cumberland Gap defeated Loudon 5-0 in the other region semifinal game on Tuesday. In Region 1-A, Alcoa defeated University High by a score of 2-0, while Chuckey-Doak defeated Gatlinburg-Pittman, 5-1.