By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain battled to a 2-2 non-conference soccer tie at Tuscola on Aug. 21.
“It was not the result we were looking for, but it wasn’t a loss,” Coach Stephen Brown said. “Tuscola outplayed us for at least 60 or 65 minutes. They had tons of opportunities to bury us, especially in the first half.”
The Mountaineers led 1-0 at halftime on a goal by Davis King in the 31st minute off of a corner kick by Martin Tox.
The Mustangs tied it eight minutes into the second half as Caleb Handy scored with an assist from Dawson Karup.
“Dawson played a nice through ball wide on the left flank,” Brown said. “Caleb ran on to it. He didn’t have much of an angle on the goal, but he shot it past the goalkeeper.”
A free kick by Noah Hinton from between 20 and 25 yards out gave SM a 2-1 edge in the 53rd minute.
Tuscola tied it six minutes later as Tox tapped an indirect kick to Alex Martin, who scored from 25 yards out.
“Without Zeb Sink we would have lost this game by multiple goals,” Brown said of his goalkeeper. “He played an all-state caliber game.”
The Mounties had a 14-9 advantage in shots. Sink and Tuscola’s Miekell McBride both made six saves.
“We can use this as an early-season learning experience and move on,” Brown said. “Tuscola played a very solid game. They were prepared and ready for us.”
The Mustang JVs won 4-2 behind three goals from Skyler Sutton. Caleb Borchelt also scored as he put a corner kick directly into the net. Dylan Farmer and Camden Myers had assists.
SM took 11 shots to five by the Mounties. Carson Seagraves made one save for the Mustangs.
“We played well,” Coach Jonathan Parsons said. “We’re still learning our new system and trying to put the pieces together.”
He singled out Sam Hudson for his play. Hudson started on the back line but also played in the midfield for the first time.
“He did a great job winning everything that came to the middle,” Parsons said.