ALCOA - Chuckey-Doak’s soccer team saw its 2023 campaign come to an end at the hands of Alcoa 5-1 in the Region 1-A semifinals Wednesday night.
It was a slow night for the Black Knights on offense, but a solid defensive effort from their back line kept things tied for the whole first half. A few bad breaks down the stretch proved to be too costly in the end and resulted in their season’s end.
Alcoa’s defense won most of the battles when Chuckey-Doak tried to make a push towards the box and made it difficult for the Black Knights to put anything together on offense.
The Tornadoes kept things interesting in the first half even though they didn’t have any goals to show for their efforts.
Levi Wirt was busy in the goal and racked up a few impressive saves. A free kick just outside the box squeaked through everybody, but Wirt was able to dive downwards to save the shot.
Jesus Rojas had a close call in the 20th minute with a header inside the penalty box. The shot sailed wide of the goalpost and forced Chuckey-Doak to remain scoreless.
Andrew Knight’s free kick didn’t sail wide of the goalpost but instead bounced off the post. The Knights were able to clear it out to avoid any threat of a goal being scored.
A controversial call occurred with four seconds left in the first half. Reed Gossett surprised everybody with a last-chance effort from long range that connected. The goal would be wiped off the board though after one side judge ruled offsides on the play.
Both teams entered halftime knotted at 0-0.
“I thought we made a lot of mistakes in the first half and they didn’t really capitalize on them. We didn’t have a lot of chances. We made mistakes defensively, we made mistakes in the midfield, and we made mistakes up top. If we minimize those, I think we’re probably ahead at the end of the first half,” Black Knights Head Coach Corey Braithwaite stated.
It didn’t take too long for Alcoa to get things rolling in the second half of action. Jaden Dyar crossed the ball into the box and Jacob Knight was able to put a head on it to chalk up the first goal of the night.
“The whole season we’ve played better in the second half than the first half. We get a little sloppy and let a kid beat three of us and put a perfect cross in and we’re not playing defense and they score,” Coach Braithwaite said.
Leo Santos managed to up the score to 2-0 with a hard strike from outside the box in the 46th minute.
The Tornadoes kept pouring it on with a third goal six minutes later. Andrew Knight netted a corner kick from Santos to extend their lead. Santos provided another assist on another corner kick to Bacon Lauderdback in the 58th minute to make it 4-0.
“Momentum changed and it happened again. I think they got two headers off of corners after that. Three of their five goals came directly off of either crosses or corners into the box to an open man,” Braithwaite mentioned.
Jacob Baumann added one more goal in the 60th minute. He was able to lure Wirt out of the goal and got a shot off just before the keeper could pounce on it.
Ethan Grindstaff slipped away from the defense and punched one in with a defender draped all over him with 16 seconds to go.
The Black Knights would lose by a final score of 5-1 to see their season end.
They had one of their most successful seasons in program history winning the regular season championship and finished runner-up in the District 1-A conference tournament. They finished 15-4 (4-0).
Chuckey-Doak graduates five seniors and lose three exchange students going forward.
“I appreciate all of them and I’m going to miss them a lot,” Coach Braithwaite expressed.