The Caldwell County boys’ soccer team had an improved season over last year, and several of the improvements can’t be measured in wins and losses.
The Tigers finished at 3-4-3 overall, 1-1 in District 7 play, and fell in the first round of the District 7 Tournament to host Hopkins Co. Central.
“On paper, you can be pleased with the growth that my season had,” said head coach Tanner Reed. “Based on the goals that we had set in preseason, we definitely didn’t reach the accolades that we had set for ourselves.”
Junior Blake Vivrette led the team with 10 goals, averaging 1 goal per game, while junior Ethan Weatherspoon put in three and co-led the team with two assists. Sophomore Haiden Ball also had two assists.
On defense freshman goalkeeper Corbin Nichols made 102 saves, averaging 10.2 per game, allowing only 29 goals in 10 games.
One of the bigger wins of the season was Caldwell County’s win 2-1 win at Hopkins County Central on Sept. 15.
“It’s very positive,” Reed said. “Hopkins Co. Central is a kind of a very big district rival that we’ve struggled to play against. We showed up there ready to execute a very solid game plan.
“I actually said the score of that game didn’t reflect that. We were very much on top, but sadly, we didn’t pull up whenever it counted, in the tournament.”
Reed said the squad that had no seniors and only two juniors look to return stronger next year with another year of experience under its collective belt.
“We have high hopes,” he said. “These players all have a lot of the experience, and they’ve all experienced a lot of growth in just a short time with me.
“I’ve seen a lot of players change drastically. An example of that is our most improved player from last season, and that’s our right back, (sophomore) Blake Bard. He was a night-and-day player in just a year. Some nights, he was the best player on the field at right back.”
Reed said that his focus has been on game improvement this season.
“We want to come out and compete in every single game,” he said. “If we lose because we competed our hardest — like the Madisonville game, where we just got put in our place by a team that is better than us, but we gave it our all — then, that’s OK.
“There were some nights — and I believe my players will agree — where we didn’t perform to our highest capability.”
Reed said that Vivrette stayed calm under pressure and was the go-to penalty kick player because he was all but guaranteed to put it in the net
Reed added that Weatherspoon’s speed was a key to his success.
“Whenever we learn to use the life of those players more, we’ll be a whole lot more successful,” Reed said.
Reed praised Ball, whom he called “a big key to our offense and defense.”
“He did a lot of the dirty work,” he said. “He was a centerpiece in our distribution. He didn’t always get the assist, but he definitely set up the play that led to it. Nine times out of 10, he was marking the most difficult player to mark on the field.”
Reed praised the work of his freshman goalie.
“Even though he’s a freshman, he looked like he’s been there his whole life,” Reed said. “He’s very comfortable, he’s very calm and he is a very smart player. I didn’t make him a captain because he is the goalkeeper. I made him the captain this season as a freshman because that’s who he is.
“He is a team leader and he’s a dog. He’s going to give you everything he’s got. He’s going to lead that back line, even though he’s younger than them.”
Nine members of the CCHS boys’ soccer team earned postseason accolades. Ball, Nichols, Vivrette, Weatherspoon and Christian Jones were named to the All-District 7 Team, while Vivrette, Weatherspoon, Weston Graham, Blake Lancaster, Tyler Linton and Grayden Miller were named to the district all-academic team.