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Tribe rules second half to set up title clash vs. ’Toppers

By PAT KENNEY, Sports Correspondent • May 8, 2019 at 2:33 AM

KINGSPORT — Have mercy, please.

Dobyns-Bennett and Science Hill left little doubt of their intentions in Tuesday’s District 1-AAA boys soccer semifinals at Indian Highland Park. Both the Indians and Hilltoppers mercy-ruled their opponents to advance to Thursday’s 6 p.m. championship match, also at D-B.

The Tribe (17-1-1) exploded for seven second-half goals to oust David Crockett 9-0 in the 68th minute of play. In the nightcap, the ’Toppers (11-6-1) wasted no time, scoring six first-half goals before ending their 9-0 win over Tennessee High in the 76th minute.

Roll Tribe Roll

After a lackluster first half, D-B heeded a “to the point” halftime discussion from coach Tom LaGuardia and got down to business. Sam Garcia scored four goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half.

View Todd Brase’s photo gallery from the match

“We were not focused in warmups and that extended into the game,” LaGuardia said. “We had a not entirely quiet halftime talk and the boys got the message. I thought the first half was a combination of our lack of focus and some fine goalkeeping by the Crockett goalie.”

Pioneers keeper Jack Roney was spectacular in the opening half, corralling 10 of D-B’s 12 shots on goal. The Tribe’s Spencer Correll was the only player to solve Roney, scoring both of D-B’s first-half goals.

Garcia notched his first goal four minutes into the second half off a rebound. Will Arrowood upped the ante when he scored in the 49th minute. Garcia followed with two goals in the space of a minute and suddenly D-B’s advantage was 6-0.

After another Garcia goal, Jose Torres and Maddox Devinney tallied and the game mercifully ended.

“Coach got our attention at halftime and I think we played much better in the second half,” Garcia said.

’Topper Time

Unlike D-B, Science Hill came out of the starting gate on fire. Ethan DiSantis scored goals in the 15th and 17th minutes and the floodgates opened.

Dylan Sanchez added two first-half goals for the Hill, and Esteban Cartes tallied another. Tennessee High was the victim of an own goal to make the halftime advantage 6-0 in favor of Science Hill.

“We talked before the game about getting off to a good start,” said Science Hill coach David Strickland. “Taking care of things early took a lot of pressure off us.”

Mateo Koch put the ’Toppers up 7-0 before Sanchez scored his third goal in the 58th. Sanchez assisted on the game’s final goal by Sun Jae Paek.

“We wanted to raise our intensity today,” Sanchez said. “This is how we will have to play against D-B. That game will be decided by whoever wants it the most.”