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Dobyns-Bennett soccer Senior Night a rousing success

STEVE WILMOTH TriCitiesSports.com • May 5, 2016 at 10:13 PM

KINGSPORT - Senior Night was a joyous but bittersweet occasion Thursday night on the Indian Highland Pitch as the Tribe ushered out eight seniors with a 5-nil result over District 1-A/AA champion Elizabethton.

“You hate to lose eight seniors,” said Dobyns-Bennett coach Blake Rutherford. “The boys came out and played well. It was a great team win on a great senior night.”

Not only did the Tribe side play well, a large time was had by all.

“You could see them having fun playing, playing for each other and playing for their seniors,” added Rutherford.

Dobyns-Bennett (14-1-1) struck quickly as Jordan Broadwater’s cross box delivery was converted by senior Karsten Parker in the seventh minute. Fifteen minutes later it was Broadwater converting with a crowd-pleasing header from the right side off an assist from senior Taylor Bunch.

Senior Steven McKinney pushed the advantage to 3-0 two minutes before intermission, collecting a freebie at the right edge and beating the Cyclone keeper just inside the near post.

Another senior, Owen Click, split the Elizabethton defenders with a solo push and conversion in the 51st minute for the Indians’ fourth tally.

“That typifies what Owen can do with his skill set,” added Rutherford. “His drive and determination are just fantastic.”

The Tribe scoring was completed via a highlight reel corner kick in the 71st minute from Broadwater and a blind right heel connection from Phillip Burdge.

“Some of the goals tonight were really, really fantastic,” added Rutherford. “It was fun to coach, fun to watch out there.”

Senior A.J. Robbins found little work in net as Elizabethton managed just three shots, only one of which was on goal. Senior Jay Valesco was solid from his outside back position.

Each of the eight seniors – Bunch, Click, McKinney, Parker, Robbins and Valesco - as well as Luke Heard and Hayden Correll were honored in pre-match ceremonies. Heard and Correll missed Senior Night, instead traveling to Kansas City to compete in the National Personal Finance Challenge. The duo recently placed first in the state competition.

Rutherford substituted freely in the final fifteen minutes as all the seniors took a final regular season curtain call. The Indians are back on the home pitch for the District 1-AAA Tournament beginning with a first-round quarterfinal fixture against David Crockett Monday at 5:30 p.m.

Rutherford noted the performance against the Cyclones was reminiscent of earlier season efforts, the likes of which will be required to advance past next week.

“It looked like team of old from the first four weeks of the season. Everybody was unselfish, we gave away the ball well, took care of it and took our opportunities. That’s how it should be every time we step out there. Now it’s on to fry some bigger fish in the district tournament.”

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