By Ken Lay
Christian Academy of Knoxville won its third consecutive Region 2-A/AA soccer championship Wednesday night at Gibbs High School’s Ernest Whited Field.
The Warriors used three first-half goals to notch a 3-0 victory over the previously undefeated Eagles.
Both CAK and Gibbs advanced to Saturday’s Section 1-A/AA Semifinals and faced elimination but results were unavailable at press time.
The Warriors (19-3) got on the board early when senior Stevie Thompson shot the ball past Gibbs goalkeeper Kaleb Lee in the in the fourth minute. CAK’s Chris Patti, a junior, tallied a short time later.
The Eagles (19-1) were able to hold CAK scoreless for the next 27 minutes but CAK scored its final marker in the 33rd minute when Anthony Buzzeo tallied when he headed the ball past Lee and into the back of the Eagles’ net.
“It was key for us to get off to a fast start,” Warriors assistant coach Dustin Crouse said. “We had a talk about that before the game because we knew that this was a good Gibbs team.
“We needed that fast start.”
CAK, which has won nine of the last 12 Class A/AA State Championships including one in 2012, was set to host University School of Johnson City Saturday but results were not available at press time. Saturday marked the consecutive postseason meeting between the two schools. CAK won the previous two handily.
Crouse noted that it was important for the Warriors to stay home for the sectional round.
“That was a major goal for us,” he said. “That’s big for our seniors.”
Meanwhile, the Eagles had to hit the road late last week and faced a familiar foe in Greeneville. The Greene Devils have ended Gibbs High’s season each of the last three years.
The Eagles had their best scoring chance against the Warriors in the 47th minute when Matthew Worley narrowly missed a shot. Worley, who has scored 50 goals for Gibbs this season, recently signed to play for University of the Cumberlands.
Gibbs coach Don Lee was pleased with his team’s effort and said he hopes his squad could use Wednesday night’s loss as a learning experience.
“I was really proud of our guys,” Coach Lee said. “It was 0-0 in the second half.
“We can learn from this if we want to. We haven’t seen that kind of speed.
“You can learn a lot from a loss.”