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Phillips' late goal lifts Lady Rebels over Falcons

Jeff Birchfield • Oct 9, 2018 at 1:04 AM

KINGSPORT — Rachel Phillips connected on a 25-yard shot with 1:07 remaining in the match to lift Sullivan South to a 4-3 win over Volunteer in the first round of the District 1-AA soccer tournament Monday.

“I saw that the keeper had stepped out a little bit and I was like if I kick it, it will go over her hands,” Phillips said. “I popped it over and it went right over. When you hit it just right, you can just feel those, especially from far off. It was like in slow motion, too, when it went right over.”

This was the second straight South-Volunteer matchup to go down to the wire. The Lady Rebels won in similar fashion the previous week, earning the victory with less than five seconds left.

Phillips played a significant role throughout Monday’s victory. After Volunteer went up 2-0 in the 12th minute, Phillips answered for the Lady Rebels two minutes later.

She nearly tied the game in the 33rd when her hard-hit ball struck and bounced off the crossbar. Her final shot had the perfect arc, timed just right when she saw the slightest opening in the Volunteer defense.

EARLY BIRDS

The Lady Falcons gained the early advantage when Chloe Salyer scored off a penalty kick in the eighth minute. Salyer also assisted on Alyssa Chappell’s goal that gave the Lady Falcons their 2-0 lead.

After South scored the next three goals, Chappell scored the game-tying goal in the 57th minute.

“I have no complaints. They did everything they could do and played a good game,” Volunteer coach Jeff Lukens said. “Here on their tiny field, South is hard to beat. No excuses, I’m proud of these girls. It’s back and forth, this is just one of those nights you have to take.”

Volunteer initially appeared to have a go-ahead goal in the 75th, but it was erased an offsides call.

Lukens said the call was correct.

FOR THE REBELS

Earlier in the half, South’s Maddie Topping tied the match at 2 with her goal in the 45th minute. Phillips then booted a corner kick that Cari Creech headed into the goal in the 55th.

“We made a few changes, which made our quick attack. Abby Clark is just speedy. If we get a through ball to her and she’s at the right angle, you can’t stop her,” Lady Rebels coach Luci Creech said. “We went to the 4-4-2 tonight and that helped. We know when we dig deep, we’ve got it. And we didn’t run out of time tonight.”

The Lady Rebels will head to Greeneville to face the tournament’s top seed and defending state champion Lady Greene Devils Tuesday.

SULLIVAN CENTRAL CRUISES

In Monday’s District 1-AA match in Blountville, Lexi Hill had a hat trick to lead the Lady Cougars to a 9-0 blowout win over Unicoi County.

Noemi Morales, Rylie Patrick, Macy McClellan, Lauren Hilton, Kaliea Frazier and Rachel Robinette also scored for Central, which advanced to play at Elizabethton in Tuesday’s semifinal round.

Central coach Emily Robinette saw plenty she liked in the rout.

“It was nice to be playing at home for our seniors,” Robinette said. “I liked tonight that we got players in that don’t get to play a lot. We scored some good goals and we got to play possession, which is very important to our team.

“We hope we can take our confidence into tomorrow night when we play Elizabethton.”

Hill’s big night came after she suffered a knee injury just six days earlier against Greeneville.

“It was big for her to come out and play at home as a senior,” Coach Robinette said. “For her to play three goals, that was incredible. She’s the type of player who gets mad at you when you take her out. She just loves the game.

“I also have to credit Rachel. She has like 71 starts and she’s a tremendous athlete. She’s my daughter, but I can play her anywhere and I know where ever she plays, she’s going to play tough.”

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