While it was a sluggish start for the Cascade Champions in the Region 3-A semifinals against Chattanooga School of Arts and Sciences, the Champs rebounded for a solid second half to force overtime against the Patriots. But it was a pair of overtime goals that ended the Champs' season as Cascade fell, 3-1...
While it was a sluggish start for the Cascade Champions in the Region 3-A semifinals against Chattanooga School of Arts and Sciences, the Champs rebounded for a solid second half to force overtime against the Patriots.
But it was a pair of overtime goals that ended the Champs' season as Cascade fell, 3-1.
Cascade appeared somewhat shell-shocked in the first half and struggled to maintain possession as the defense spent the bulk of its time on its heels, fending off Patriot runs on the goal.
"I think we came out a little nervous. We still have this picture of big bad Chattanooga when we started," Cascade coach Zack Spears said.
CSAS eventually broke through in the 11th minute with a strike off the toe of Oliver Cooley.
Eventually, the Champions settled in and were able to push the ball onto the CSAS end of the field.
Cascade's best scoring chance in the first half came in the 32nd minute when Pablo Solares just missed the top crossbar off a free kick.
Eventually, Cascade was able to establish possession and continued that shift in momentum into the second half.
In the first four minutes of the second half, Cascade had three free kicks that set up attacks at the CSAS goal.
"It took a little bit for our boys to realize these are normal guys and we're good enough to play with them. Once we got around that mentality, we had our chances. If a ball breaks left or right a few inches and this is a game that ends in regulation and we're heading on," Spears said.
Cascade eventually connected on the equalizer in the 46th minute when found Blake Olive finished off a corner kick for a head-in goal.
Cascade nearly connected on the go-ahead goal on another header by Ivan Draine in the 61st minute, but once again missed just high.
With neither team backing down an inch, the game continued to take a physical toll and eventually ended regulation in a 1-1 draw, forcing two, 10-minute overtime periods.
Although goalkeeper Michael Anderson had been the anchor of the Champion defense, a relentless Patriot onslaught eventually broke through with the go-ahead goal in the 86th minute from Joshua Kilgore.
CSAS added an insurance goal barely two minutes later when Jack Buffington fired off a rebound goal, initially blocked by Anderson.
Anderson kept Cascade in the match, making save after save, including an acrobatic diving save in the first half.
"This kid has been the best goalkeeper we've ever had since he was a freshman and he's only gotten better. When he goes to Martin and moves on to his DI school, everyone else will know it," Spears said.
"Having no tape or really anything else, we didn't know exactly what to expect, but it's always a solid team we're coming up against in the Chattanooga side of the region," Spears said.
Tuesday night marked the second-straight season that Cascade ended its season in the region against CSAS, with the last meeting coming in the 2019 region semifinals.
Four seniors finished their career on Tuesday, including Anderson, Seth Countess, Anthony Carpenter and Garrett Rucker.
"We have a four year senior, two three year seniors and a first-year. They've pulled some of this team into playing like a team. It's always retraining them when they come in as freshman," Spears said.
Even with the seniors moving on, Spears says the impact by the four will be felt with future classes.
"These boys have taken them under their wings. You'll see this team is just as good next year because of what these seniors did this year," he said.
CSAS 1 0 2 - 3
Cascade 0 1 0 - 1
CS - Oliver Cooley goal, Gavin Castle assist, (11th minute).
C - Blake Olive goal, Ivan Draine assist, (46th minute).
CS - Joshua Kilgore goal, (86th minute).
CS - Jack Buffington goal, (88th minute).
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