West too strong in 2-AAA finale
A district championship was not in the cards for the Seymour Eagles soccer team Friday night in Morristown.
The Eagles (16-4-1) fell behind early 3-0 to the Morristown West Trojans (15-4) and could never battle back in their 4-2 loss of the District 2-AAA title game at Burke-Toney Stadium.
From the very beginning it looked as thought the Eagles — constructed to utilize spacing and possession — were uncomfortable on the Trojans’ football field-sized, artificially-turfed home playing surface.
“It’s a different game. I don’t want to make excuses, but it is,” Seymour coach Drew Payne, who’s had his team playing on a college field at Johnson University lately, said. “Playing on a turf field that’s 100 yards by 56, 57 (yards) is a completely different sport than playing on 120 by 70-something (yards). The right thing to do is for me to be a good sport, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m aggravated by it.”
Still, Payne credited the Trojans.
“They earned homefield advantage, so they earned this,” he said. “We had to come in here and take it from them and we didn’t. We gave up three goals really early that were just bad marking and bad mistakes, and we let them get all the momentum. It’s hard to come back from that.”
Just over 15 minutes into the contest, Morristown West struck first.
A corner kick was played out of the box perfectly by the Eagles, only to have the Trojans’ Matt Sawyer make a beautiful mid-air rebound kick from 25 yards out into the Seymour net.
“You can’t do anything about that,” Payne said. “We did our jobs getting it out, and this guy’s waiting 30 yards out — we’re not going to have somebody marking him — and he comes up and hits it perfectly.”
Under three minutes later, West added another goal on a perfect sideline cross pass from Colin Yarid to Jeremiah Esparaza, making it 2-0 Trojans with less than 20 minutes gone in the first half.
“We should have marked better on that one,” Payne said.
It appeared the route was on 10 minutes later when Yarid scored on an assist from Esparaza upping the ante to 3-0.
Seymour wouldn’t be denied forever, though, and star forward Fredrick Bergman got the Eagles on the board with under four minutes to play by beating West’s back line defenders on a breakaway.
But the momentum was short lived.
Just moments later, Trojans’ goalkeeper Chandler Townsend booted a long kick downfield to an open Ike Hunsucker, who converted an easy goal deep in Eagles’ territory, making it 4-1 at intermission.
“That’s a good indication on the field,” Payne said. “That’s not going to happen on the field we’ve been playing on (at Johnson University).”
A late red card on West meant that Seymour would be playing a man up throughout the second half, but it didn’t amount to a substantial advantage for the Eagles. The West defense packed it in the second half and allowed just one goal to Blue and Gold — Bergman’s 44th of the year — keeping the score 4-2.
“We kept fighting, but at that point, even with them a man down, it’s very easy for them to pack it in and park the bus in front of the goal,” Payne said. “And that’s what they did, and it’s nearly impossible to get it in like that.”
The loss means Seymour will face District 1-AAA champion Dobyns-Bennett in Kingsport on Tuesday, while Morristown West will host 1-AAA runner-up Science Hill.
“This season’s not over,” Payne said. “We’ve got to go up there and play our butts off and see if we can’t get an upset.”