HARDIN VALLEY—Hardin Valley scored two goals in less than two minutes to beat Maryville 2-0 at home in the Region 2-AAA championship game on Thursday.
Both teams advance to state Class AAA sectionals on Saturday. Hardin Valley (15-3-2) will play at home against Tennessee of Bristol (14-2-2), the Region 1 runner-up. Maryville (15-6-2), the Region 2 runner-up, will take on Science Hill (13-8-1), the Region 1 champion, in Johnson City.
The Region 2 championship on Thursday was scoreless until the 69th minute. That’s when Kelsey Klett of Hardin Valley lofted a high free kick that went over a wall over Maryville defenders and Lady Rebels goalkeeper Allie Hendrix and into the net with 11:42 left to play.
“She’s phenomenal in that situation,” Hardin Valley Coach Mark Patterson said of the senior defender and her kick from a distance. “She stops the goals, and she scores the goals.”
Paige Hewitt, who led the Lady Hawks with four shots, scored less than two minutes later on a pass from Gwen Breslin, who got the assist. The score was 2-0 with 10:12 to play.
“She kept her composure in front of the net,” Patterson said of Hewitt, a junior forward. “She can pick her spot, and thankfully she put it there.”
The Lady Hawks outshot the Lady Rebels 13-3. But Patterson said the last few teams that Hardin Valley has played, including Oak Ridge on Tuesday, have been “hard to break down.”
But once Hardin Valley gets its first goal, the girls tend to relax, he said.
“I just wish the first goal would come a lot sooner,” Patterson said.
He said the Hardin Valley defense has been very reliable, including on Thursday. It includes Klett and senior defender Dominque Rowe. Patterson said the two captains are great leaders and among the best defenders in the region.
The defense also includes younger outside backs Mackenzie Smith and Lainee Griffin.
“They’re so reliable,” Patterson said of the defense. “I haven’t seen a defense in this region that’s so reliable.”
It was the 11th shutout for Hardin Valley and the third over Maryville this year, including the District 4-AAA championship.
Hardin Valley eliminated Oak Ridge in a 2-0 win in a Region 2-AAA semifinal game on Tuesday.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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