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Gate City squads ride shutouts into M7 semifinals

By JOHNNY WILSON, Sports Correspondent • May 16, 2019 at 11:56 PM

GATE CITY — The Gate City boys have had a fine 2019 soccer season, but coach Aaron Hillman is quick to note that his Blue Devils better kick it up a notch if they plan to extend their run to the VHSL Class 2 playoffs.

Thursday night at Legion Field, the second-seeded Blue Devils (13-3-2) did take care of business with a 3-0 win over Lee High in opening-round play of the Mountain 7 District tournament.

However, Hillman was not that impressed.

“We came out slow tonight, not with the pace we wanted,” the fourth-year Blue Devils leader said. “We did come out in the second half and play a little better. We’ve got to play harder than we played tonight, no doubt about that.”

Hillman insisted there was no hangover from Monday’s brutal 7-0 loss to Abingdon in a special, one-game playoff that determined the top seed.

“Nah, we’ve moved on past that,” he said.

Andrew Pendleton led the Blue Devils past the seventh-seeded Generals (2-14) by scoring the game’s first two goals.

The junior ripped a left-footed one-timer from 20 yards in the 28th minute, giving Gate City a 1-0 lead at halftime, before adding another goal with 22:07 on the second-half clock.

“Actually our attacking midfielder (Matt Johnson) has been sick, so tonight AP stepped up and played the attacking mid and played it well,” Hillman said.

Levi Rhoton, also a junior, scored Gate City’s other goal on a point-blank penalty kick with 13:36 remaining.

The Generals of second-year coach Don Williams put up a battle.

“We’ve got a lot of kids out there who’ve not seen a soccer field much and it kind of shows at times,” Williams said. “But we did battle them tonight and I’m proud of the kids and their effort. Effort has not been a problem for us.”


Amanda Vermillion and Jamie Watts each scored two goals, leading the Gate City girls past winless Ridgeview by an 8-0 count.

Lola Carillo and Abby Williams both added goals for the second-seeded Lady Blue Devils (10-1-4), who were the beneficiaries of two own goals.

Gate City plays Abingdon in Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. semifinal at Sugar Hollow Park.