The King’s Warriors journeyed to Dayton, TN, October 23 to participate in the National Association of Christian Athletes annual fall soccer tournament. The competition seemed to be a much higher level this year, but the young King’s Warriors were still competitive.
The Warriors opened pool play on October 24 against Veritas Academy from North Carolina. The team played well against this much older team, but three defensive mistakes resulted in three goals and a 3-0 score.
The next opponent was Rhea County Christian School, the home town team from Dayton, TN. In a game the Warriors should have won, they gave up a goal in each half and failed to score, losing 2-0.
This placed the King’s Warriors in Division 4 beginning October 25. They first took on the Chattanooga, TN, Home School Association. The teams were evenly matched, and the score was 0-0 with only about 15 minutes left in the second half. With injuries and fatigue taking a toll, the Warriors defense began to yield. They gave up three goals, while Chance Blevins, who worked hard every game, finally saw some fruits for his labor. He scored late in the game to notch the team’s first goal for a respectable 3-1 score line.
The fourth game was the only one where the King’s Warriors were outclassed. Andrews Academy, from Michigan, showed great speed and control in cruising to a 4-0 win.
This placed the Warriors in the third place match on Friday morning, October 26. The day was dismal, with rain falling and fog so thick you couldn’t see the action on opposite ends of the field. Field conditions were worse, with wet, slippery grass and standing water in spots. The King’s Warriors faced off for the first time against Fresta Valley Christian School, a perennial power house from northern Virginia. It was obvious from the opening kickoff that the King’s Warriors had come to play, and the game was even for much of the first half. Chance Blevins hit pay dirt about 20 minutes in on a long hard shot that just cleared the keeper’s hands and squeezed under the bar. The second half got underway with the Warriors holding on to a slim 1-0 lead, but they began to take control of the game. They had multiple near misses, and finally Chance Blevins broke through again, beating the goal keeper and dragging defenders behind him to put the ball away in an empty net for a 2-0 lead.
Realizing the soccer “mantra” that “a two goal lead is the most dangerous lead in soccer”, the Warriors kept up the pressure. Late in the game, Eli Blevins delivered a perfect corner kick into a mass of defenders and attackers. Matthew Smith the Warriors lone senior ended his NACA career by out jumping his defender to head home the final goal in a very unexpected 3-0 King’s Warriors win. The coaches then attempted to clear the bench to give all the younger players some game time.
This year’s tournament team consisted of senior Matthew Smith; juniors Caleb Okes, Andrew Smith, and Jack Spurgin; sophomores Eli Blevins, Harleigh Ellison, Ailena Bezek, Sarah Spurgin, Zach Brown, and Jacob Thomson; freshmen Chance Blevins, Adam Stapler, and Jesse Lyttle; eighth graders Aaron Smith, Brianna Cook, and Alyssa Green; and sixth grader Billie Dicken.
The King’s Warriors came home with hardware. Along with taking 3rd place in Division 4, the opposing coaches and referees voted the Warriors to receive the Sportsmanship Award. Attacking center mid-fielder Matthew Smith and goalkeeper Jack Spurgin were both named to the All Tournament Team.
In one of the most enjoyable King’s Warriors seasons ever, the very young team posted a 10-10-2 record, playing against some very tough competition. The team scored 42 goals and gave up 39. The defense, led by goalkeeper Jack Spurgin, posted six shutouts.
The team will take a couple weeks off before they begin the futsal (indoor soccer) season.
For information on how you can become a King’s Warrior or to follow and support the team, go to www.swvkingswarriors.org, or call assistant coach Jonathan Windle at 1(540)958-1509.