Last week, Anderson County Mavericks’ soccer was able to up their winning-streak to five games after playing against Campbell County High School.
The Mavs played without two key players, a starting defender and a midfielder, but were able to still put 11 guys on the field and earn a hard-fought victory against Campbell County.
Team pride was on the line for this game in particular.
For months leading up to the game, opposing players eagerly prepared to meet their rival on the field. Both teams came out ready to play. Campbell County found the back of the net early in the game due to a defensive miscue.
Forward Caleb Bethel was able to even things up with an assist from midfielder Jay Collins.
A foul in the box put Campbell County back on top, but tight passing from Anderson County helped them tie the game just before half with a finish from Bethel, who was assisted by forward Shad Thrasher.
The Mavs came back onto the field determined to win and found the back of the net with some fancy footwork from junior forward Clayton Utley, again with an assist from Thrasher.
Campbell County was able to answer back on another defensive miscue from the Mavs.
But Anderson County kept their heads up and pushed through as Bethel hit the back of the net to take the lead and complete his third hat trick of the season.
With 1:13 left on the clock, Campbell County was able to tie it up again on a penalty kick that was awarded after a defensive foul in the box.
This took the district game into sudden death, golden goal, overtime.
The Mavs were amped up for the final chapter and won most of the 50-50 balls and controlled the overtime play. Andeson County’s defense and midfield were able to shrink the field and Bethel went through four defenders to win the game with a screamer from 20 yards out. This gave Anderson County their first overtime win of the season, and put the Mavs back on top against their school rival.
The previous week, Anderson County added Halls and Oliver Springs to the win column. The game against Halls ended 5-3 and was another important win for the Mavs. The Mavs have been fighting hard this season to defend their turf and have their opponents take notice.
Ball movement was key to the victory over Halls.
“We did not control the field like I would have liked, but we were able to string together a couple of productive passes throughout the game,” said head coach, Ron Roskelly.
Bethel netted an impressive five goals in the win with assists from Austin Miller (2), Thrasher, Utley, and Kyle Stringfield.
The Oliver Springs game allowed Anderson County to become a field of strikers.
The Mavs finished the game 11-1.
Oliver Springs made their goal early on with a nice run up the line, but Anderson County’s defensive team shut down any other opportunities for the rest of the game.
It was a watershed moment for Jay Collins as he scored his first career goal by breaking past the back two defenders and placing the ball in the corner with precision and accuracy.
Tristen Eggars joined the first-time scorers (but long-time shooters) club.
His goal was well-placed after sending many good-intentioned shots over the crossbar this season. Bryant Bailey got the assist as he set Tristen up with a solid through-ball.
Utley netted his first hat trick (three goals) of the season with assists coming from Cody Stringfield and Daniel Goodman.
Goodman also made a solid (season-first) finish off of Logan Dixon’s cross.
Bethel assisted throughout the game and got his goal off a through-ball Goodman fed him. Cody and Kyle Stringfield, AC’s twin brothers, made it into a family event by scoring one goal a piece.
Cody Stringfield put the ball in the net on Clayton Utley’s assist and Anderson County keeper, Kyle Stringfield, got a taste of the field-action when he put his first (season) goal in the opponent’s net.
Chase Douglas dusted off his old striker boots this game and dizzied the opposition with a number of D-turns that ended in a goal.
Anderson County controlled play and communication on the pitch.
The final home game of the season will be Tuesday against Harriman at 6 p.m.
The Mavericks finish the regular season with a huge district game at Clinton on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and the last game of the regular season will be a non-district match, on the road at Loudon at 6 p.m.