By Jeff Trombly
The Oak Ridge Wildcats traveled to Augusta, Georgia, this past week to participate in the Taxslayer Border Classic Soccer Invitational hosted by Greenbrier High School.
The 36-team tournament was held over three days and included teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Oak Ridge High School was the only team from Tennessee in this year’s tournament.
The Wildcats won their first match against a very talented Walton High School team from suburban Atlanta 4-3 in a penalty kick tie-breaker. There was a 1-1 draw during regular time, when Carson McGhee scored for Oak Ridge. McGhee, a junior, scored when he slammed home a rebound from a corner kick by senior Austin Vinyard.
Oak Ridge junior goalkeeper Austyn Lincoln saved two Walton penalty kicks in the tie-breaker to lead the Wildcats to victory.
In the second match on Friday evening, the Wildcats defeated host Greenbrier High School 4-3 in a second penalty kick tie-breaker after once again drawing 1-1 during regular time. Vinyard provided the goal for Oak Ridge before Greenbrier scored late in the match to even the game.
Lincoln once again led the Wildcats with two stellar saves in the tie-breaker.
On Saturday morning, luck ran out for the Wildcats as they fell to Columbus High School 1-0. But the loss did not prevent the Wildcats from progressing to the championship final, which they won 1-0 over Lowndes High School from Valdosta, Georgia. This time, senior Dean Stetzel provided the goal from a free kick delivered by Vinyard.
“This was a great event for our program.” said Oak Ridge Coach Jeff Trombly. “We had the opportunity to play four very talented teams early in our season. This was a valuable learning opportunity that we hope sets us in the right direction for our district play that begins this week.”
The next match for the Wildcats is Tuesday, when they travel to Central High School in north Knoxville for a 7 p.m. kick-off.
Last week’s season-opener against Clinton was postponed until 6 p.m. March 31 in Clinton.
See the season schedule here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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