Boys Soccer Makes First EVER State Tournament

Posted by Beech High School on May 22 2019 at 07:25AM PDT in 2018-19

Story by Zach Womble/MainStreetPreps – Hendersonville Standard
Photo by Don McPeak

HENDERSONVILLE – Saturday was a good day to be a Beech Buccaneer, especially if you were a senior. For 11 of the boys in blue and orange, the day couldn’t have gone any better.

After finishing off graduation, the Bucs set the eyes on the Class AA sectional match against visiting Sycamore, the runners-up in Region 6AA.

Disposing of the War Eagles 2-0, the Bucs book a trip to Spring Fling for the first time in school history.

“Soccer is a player’s game and players make the plays and all I do is teach and guide and try and give them ideas of how to solve problems on the field,” Beech coach John Ferguson said. “At the end of the day they decide it. For the boys, it was the same as the girls, they believed they were good enough to do it and once they believed it they went out and did it.”

Despite many shots on goal and multiple corner kicks and free kicks for the Bucs in the first 40 minutes, Beech entered the locker room tied 0-0 with the War Eagles.

“There weren’t any real adjustments,” Ferguson said. “There weren’t real adjustments because we were getting what we wanted. It was more or less let’s make sure we are closer to them and not give them space and put pressure on the ball. We felt like we could dribble and it felt like we were matched up to take their players on so those two things we changed.”

JD Moffitt pushed the Bucs in front seven minutes into the second half when he beat his defender on the right side of the pitch before burying a shot over Sycamore keeper Eli Pallares in the left corner 16 yards out.

Just six minutes later, Sycamore put itself in an 0-2 hole on an own goal off an AJ Hill pass.

“I hate that for any kid on any team,” Ferguson said of the own goal. “That is a gross feeling because it really was a good hustle play on his part.

“Tonight from a finishing perspective it felt like the regular season where we couldn’t get on the end of one.”

This marks the second team Ferguson has taken to Murfreesboro this season to compete in the state tournament. The Beech Lady Bucs won the state title back in October over Seymour.

“Really, it’s just the style of play,” Ferguson said. “There is no Kendra Mueller on this team, superstar that can change a game on their own. However, we do have a group of players that collectively put their thumbprint on the game. Our center midfielders did a great job stuffing out their threats tonight. Alex Esser had a fantastic tournament. He has played great and one of the big reasons we are here now.”

There is no secret formula to bringing home another gold trophy, but Ferguson did say that if they continue to play within themselves and control what they can control they will give themselves a chance.

“We can make sure we are good one the ball, good with our first touch and make sure we finish the chances we create,” he added. “I feel like we got a good look at a state level team in the post-season when we played MLK. They were a great team and that was a big win. In fact, that was our signature win so far. That is a team that had a chance to do stuff at state so to beat them was huge. We just need to keep believing in each other and play hard.”

On the other side, Sycamore was undoubtedly disappointed in the result. However, that shouldn’t stop coach Taylor McCullugh and the rest of his seniors from having fond memories on a great season.

In reality, the War Eagles won their first District 12AA Championship since 2005, recorded 13 wins and played in their first sub-state game in school history. These 10 seniors have also compiled an impressive 47-21-10 record.

“This is the best group of seniors that have ever gone through this soccer program,” McCullugh said. “They have left the program in much better shape than what they found it and that what they were here to do. They made it this far by hard work and pure determination. It was their perseverance that got them this far and they just wanted it every day, every game. We felt like we deserved it tonight but unfortunately it wasn’t on our side.”

Sycamore ends the 2019 season 13-5-3.