Rebel uprising?

Maryville soccer hits key midseason stretch

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By Stefan Cooper
Sports Editor
Blount Today

They’re so close.

Watson Hartsoe and Ridge Carter sprung for goals, with junior Daniel Weatherbee delivering a head-turning performance in net, and the Maryville High School soccer team shut out former state champion Lenoir City, 2-0, on Tuesday at Shields Stadium.

The win was a welcome change after last week’s disappointing 3-1 loss to South-Doyle, Maryville coach John Kerr said.

Against the Panthers, the Rebels (7-2-1, 3-1 District 4AAA) often looked sharp, with Spencer Jackson running down long, angled balls out of midfield at the corners. The senior midfielder collected the assist on both Maryville goals. In goal, Weatherbee was nothing short of super, parrying clear a pair of Panther free kicks with spectacular diving saves.

Against the Cherokees the previous Thursday, the Rebels bore little resemblance to Tuesday’s team. With the district’s big three — Knox West, Farragut and defending state champion Bearden — on the schedule in rapid succession in six days starting Friday, that lack of consistency is a concern, Kerr said.

"I just wish more of the kids would have joined in (Tuesday)," Kerr said. "I saw too much fragmentation."

The Rebels have climbed within striking distance of multiple state champions Bearden and Farragut the last few seasons, knocking off the Bulldogs, 2-0, a year ago and playing the Admirals to a scoreless draw. Much of that Maryville team is back, headlined by Carter, last season’s district player of the year.

Carter is amply supported on all sides, with junior Oscar Sanchez pacing a balanced Maryville attack with 10 goals and pair of assists on the year. Fellow junior David Large is just back of Sanchez’ team-leading 22 points with seven goals and four assists. Carter is a deadly third option with six goals and five helpers. Jackson is delivering an exemplary season in his final campaign, directing Maryville’s fortunes with seven assists and four goals.

Hartsoe’s opening goal Tuesday was the sophomore stopper’s third this season, punctuated with a spirited celebration that left Carter bewildered.

"That’s just a weird kid doing a weird dance," he said.

All told, seven Rebels have found the opposing net for at least a pair of goals this spring.

"One game we had eight goals, and seven different players scored," Kerr said.

Will it be enough to land Maryville its first-ever win over Farragut on Monday?

"We want to win out from here on," Carter said. "That’s our goal. It’s going to take a little luck (against Farragut), and we’re just going to have to come out and want it more than they do. We haven’t had anybody come out every game with their A-game yet."

Friday, when West visits for a 7 p.m. match, would be a good place to start, Kerr said.

"We always get up for Farragut and Bearden," he said. "We don’t have to motivate them for those. I’m not as worried about winning and losing the rest of the (regular) season as I am about getting better as a team. The real season starts at
the district tournament."

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