As the regular season nears a close, both Scott High and Oneida stepped outside region play on Thursday, with the Lady Indians hosting Cumberland County in their home finale at Jane Terry Hoffman Field, while the Lady Highlanders closed out their regular season at Harriman.
It was another successful night of high school soccer, as Oneida tied the Jets, 1-1, and Scott High shut out the Blue Devils, 3-0.
Even though Cumberland County scored a late goal to tie Oneida, Coach Phil Newport said the game felt like more than a tie.
“The game was remarkable for its defense,” he said. “We had three shots on goal in the first half and four in the second. They had three and three. I made some defensive changes that seemed to get everyone on the right page. I think we have that side of things figured out.”
The first half ended scoreless, but sophomore Alexea Jones scored six minutes into the second half to give Oneida a 1-0 lead.
“You know we played a much cleaner game tonight and managed to play equal to them,” Newport said. “It did not feel like a tie and I think Cumberland County’s coach was bothered by the result even after they tied it up late.”
Cumberland County was a state tournament team last year in Class AA, and is atop the District 6-AA standings again this year.
“I think they are just as athletic as any of the teams we have played,” Newport said. “There is not a lot separating Cumberland Gap, Scott, Kingston, Cumberland County and us. I think any one can beat the other on a given night.”
The tie was especially impressive because Oneida is down a key starter in Caroline Keeton, who suffered a knee injury against Campbell County on Monday.
“I am giving a shout out to the Lady Highlanders on their regular season championship,” Newport said. “They have played very well to earn that and I am happy with how they have done.
“We have our defense set, I believe, so we will get ready for Rockwood on Monday.”
Monday’s game, the last of the regular season for Oneida, will be a district game.
Meanwhile, on the banks of the Emory River in downtown Harriman, Scott High played the Blue Devils to a 3-0 finish in a game that was in no way indicative of the teams’ abilities.
Harriman, which lost 6-0 earlier this season to a Clinton team that the Lady Highlanders defeated 8-1, was at a clear disadvantage, but Scott High — coming off Tuesday’s big win over Kingston — used the regular season finale to try some different combinations and looks.
Scott High was down three starters, due to coronavirus quarantines and other non-injury reasons, and Coach Eric Henry substituted early and liberally. While eight starters were regulars, he switched up the lineup in several ways — putting midfielder Rylee Cotton in the back, for example, to give other players an opportunity to move up. While every player who made the trip got playing time, Henry did not go completely away from his seniors until late in the game.
“I thought it was good to mix them up like that,” he said, indicating the way his freshmen were able to get game experience with veteran players. “It lets the players be coaches on the field — especially Abby (Bridges).”
The game was scoreless until just before the half, when sophomore Olivia Rector put a well-placed ball over the keeper’s head for a 1-0 lead.
Scott High assaulted the goal in the second half, finally finding the back of the net with 25 minutes remaining when senior Alliyah Nagy scored.
The Lady Highlanders’ final score came in the final minute of the match, when sophomore Zoey Terry scored on a follow-up.
Scott High closes out the regular season with a record of 8-2-1 and District 5-AA’s top seed heading into the postseason. The Lady Highlanders will next be in action on October 13, almost certainly against Loudon.