MADISONVILLE — The Caldwell County High School boys’ soccer team fell in the semifinal round of the District 7 tournament on Monday, taking a 3-0 loss to host Hopkins Co. Central.
The game ends the 2020 season for the team, which posted a 3-4-3 record overall and a 1-1 mark in regular-season district play.
The first half saw Caldwell County keep possession of the ball for most of the period, taking 13 shots in the first 40 minutes, with five of those being on goal. Hopkins Co. Central (5-6-1, 0-2) made nine shots in the first half, with eight of those being on goal.
The Storm broke a scoreless tie when Julio Rivera-Mena drove in front of the goal and scored in the 21st minute, the only goal of the first half.
A strange occurrence brought the second goal of the game in the 77th minute. Hopkins Co. Central’s Gavin Lear booted a lofty kick from 25 feet out toward the goal, but the ball was caught by CCHS freshman goalkeeper Corbin Nichols.
Both teams retreated for the ensuing goal kick, and there was no signal from the field official or the side official. The field official ran over to the side official, spoke for a few seconds, then signaled that a goal had been scored.
CCHS head coach tanner Reed said the field official told him that the side official had signaled that a goal had been scored.
The Storm’s final goal came when a ball headed by a Tiger player was misdirected into the goal for an own goal in the final minute.
The game was a physical one, with Hopkins Co. Central committing 17 fouls to CCHS’s 14. The Tigers took four yellow cards in the game.
Caldwell County finished with 18 shots — seven on goal — while the Storm had 16 (nine on goal).
Nichols made seven saves in the game, while HCC goalkeeper Ethan Peyton also had seven.
“We broke through (the Storm defense) several times,” Reed said after the game. “It was all us: we were possessing; we were playing the game quite well, and their keeper made an incredible save off of Haiden Ball’s shot going top corner.
“Blake Vivrette was very active, pulling the trigger from 40 yards out and hitting dangerous shots. We were just unlucky that none of the fell into the goal.”
Reed said that the Tigers did not play their style of play, allowing Hopkins Co. Central to control the tempo of the game.
“Their defense is very big,” he said. “They outsize us by quite a bit on the field. So, whenever we don’t play our style of play — which is play feet and move — and we start playing the balls in the air…that doesn’t suit us at all.
“So, we catered to their game a little bit and gave them exactly what they wanted by panicking under pressure instead of calming the play down and finding the simple pass. We went to playing long-ball, and that’s never going to favor us.”
Reed was disappointed in how the season ended.
“We definitely didn’t hit the aspirations that I had set out,” he said. “I changed formations, I moved some players around, I tried new things. I thought, for sure, we were going to be an offensive powerhouse. I saw us scoring four, five, six goals a game.
“Not only did we not score that many goals a game, we always allowed a goal in a game. I’ve got to reevaluate our team — that comes down to me as a coach — because if they’re not performing on the field, it could be simply because I don’t have the right strategy going into a match. I need to spend this offseason reevaluating what I have, where I want us to go and how to push forward for it.”
Caldwell County has no seniors on its team.
- The CCHS girls’ soccer team (6-4-1, 2-0) will play in the championship game of the District 7 tournament at 6 p.m. Thursday at Hopkins Co. Central against Tuesday’s semifinal winner between Madisonville-North Hopkins (4-6-2, 1-1) and the host Lady Storm (6-4-0, 0-2).
The teams taking part in the championship game will advance to the Second Region tournament, to be played next week at Henderson County. The schedule of that tournament has not yet been released.