The Smyrna boys soccer team overcame bad weather and two lightning delays to defeat its chief rival and win the battle for north Rutherford County on Friday night in La Vergne.
A steady rainfall, high winds and falling temperatures weren’t enough to tame the Bulldogs’ resolve, as Smyrna defeated the Wolverines 2-0.
The game featured a 36-minute lightning delay in the 12th minute and a 33-minute lightning delay in the 56th minute.
The delays stalled any flow the game might have had as neither team ever grabbed a distinct momentum. Including pregame, both teams had to warm up on three different occasions.
“I’m super proud of (my team) because it was a tough sitaution to be able and then go back out there multiple times,” Smyrna coach Brian Grogan said. “I didn’t have to tell them a whole lot because it was La Vergne and they know how big this rivalry is.
“They handled it well.”
It was the first meeting between the two clubs since Smyrna (3-3-3, 1-0-0 in 7-AAA) topped La Vergne in the 2013 Region 4-AAA title game 2-0. Both teams went on to qualify for the state tournament last season, meeting in the District 7-AAA championship game too, which was won by La Vergne 3-2
It was Smyrna’s first district game of the season. La Vergne dropped to 1-2-0 in 7-AAA (2-7-0 overall).
“I’m not going to use the weather as an excuse because they were out there playing in it just like we were,” La Vergne coach Allen McMillan said. “I didn’t think we played that well but you can’t take anything away from Smyrna. They took advantage of the opportunities that they had and we didn’t.
The game’s first goal came off the foot of Smyrna junior Day Ler Say, a midfielder, in the 15th minute on a free kick after a La Vergne hand ball. The game-winner came just three minutes after the teams resumed play in the first half after the first lightning delay.
“It was good team effort, we worked well together,” Ler Say said of the win. “I’m excited to get this victory.”
Smyrna added an insurance goal in the 79th minute off the foot of Logan Woodard. Woodard scored on a free kick from midfield to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 advantage.
La Vergne had very few chances in the first half as Smyrna dominated the possession for the first 40 minutes. The Wolverines’ best chance to find an equalizer came in the 33rd minute on a corner kick by Brandon Hillis.
Hillis’ set piece went right in front of Smyrna goalie Josh Perkins but no La Vergne players were able to find the net on Hillis’ cross.
Possession in the second half was much more equal as both teams had opportunities to score goals.
La Vergne’s final chance to try and tie the game at one came on a free kick by Hillis from just outside the penalty box in the 74th minute that resulted in two shots on goal. However, neither resulted in the game-tying goal.
Both teams will continue district play next week. La Vergne hosts district-leader Riverdale (5-2-2, 2-0-1) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Smyrna will play the same day at Oakland (5-2-2, 1-1-0) at 7 p.m.
Smyrna 2, La Vergne 0
Smyrna 1 1 – 2
La Vergne 0 0 – 0
Goals: Smyrna: Day Ler Say, Logan Woodard.