Note: This story was last updated at 11 p.m.
Oak Ridge advanced to the Region 2-AAA soccer championship with a 3-1 win over Maryville in a semifinal elimination game at home on Tuesday.
The Wildcats will now play Farragut in the Region 2-AAA championship at the Oak Ridge Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Oak Ridge and Farragut will both play at least two more games, the regional championship on Thursday and a Class AAA sectional on Saturday.
Here’s how the sectionals work: The Region 2 champion will host the Region 1 runner-up, and the Region 1 champion will host the Region 2 runner-up.
While the Region 2 championship features Oak Ridge and Farragut, the Region 1 championship, which will also be played on Thursday, features Dobyns-Bennett and Science Hill.
The winners of the sectional games on Saturday will advance to the state Class AAA soccer tournament.
Oak Ridge got off to a slow start and trailed 1-0 after a Maryville goal in the eighth minute of the Region 2 semifinal game on Tuesday.
But the Wildcats came back and led 2-1 at halftime, Coach Jeff Trombly said.
Oak Ridge scored its first goal in the 32nd minute, with about eight minutes left in the first half, on a pass from senior forward Masa Kato to senior midfielder Brent Robinson in front of the goal.
The Wildcats scored again near halftime on a pass from senior midfielder Matthew Malagon to sophomore forward Cris Avila, who passed to senior forward Austin Vinyard, who scored.
Oak Ridge added a goal in the beginning of the second half, in the 44th minute, on a cross from Vinyard to junior midfielder Casey Nigh.
“We got back in our game again and finished,” Trombly said.
The Wildcats lost their concentration at the beginning of the game, although they almost scored within the first minute, Trombly said.
In the second half, they played a lot of defense, he said.
Kato went out with a injury after being kicked in the leg in the beginning of the second half, but he’ll be back, Trombly said.
Vinyard and Nigh both played well, Trombly said, and senior defender Dean Stetzel was a “monster in back.”
It was the second time this year that Oak Ridge, the top team in District 3-AAA with an 8-0 district record during the regular season, beat Maryville, the top team in District 4-AAA with a 6-0 district record. In the earlier win, the Wildcats beat the Rebels 2-0 in a regular-season game on May 2.
Oak Ridge also eliminated Maryville in a Region 2 semifinal last year.
Maryville is a junior-laden team, and they’ll be back next year, Trombly said.
Farragut is likely to be a challenge on Thursday. They beat Oak Ridge 4-3 during the regular season on May 4, although it was the third game in three days for the Wildcats and the only game that week for the Admirals.
Oak Ridge last beat Farragut in a Region 2 semifinal game in 2015.
The Admirals eliminated Central 7-2 in this year’s other Region 2 semifinal on Tuesday.
“We’ve got to be ready to play,” Trombly said of Thursday’s game against Farragut. “We’re going to really have to be on our game.”
It’s also the third year in a row that Oak Ridge has won the District 3-AAA championship. This year’s district championship win, the last game before Tuesday’s regional semifinal against Maryville, was a 4-0 victory over Central on Friday.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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