NASHVILLE – White House High boys head soccer coach Mark Lamberth wasn’t looking ahead.
However, Lamberth was preparing on Wednesday afternoon … just in case.
“I went ahead and got the entire complex ready to host a substate (sectional) game on Saturday,” Lamberth said. “I told the boys it was their job to get us back there.”
His players lived up to their end of the bargain, earning a home sectional match thanks to a 2-0 win at Martin Luther King Magnet in Wednesday evening’s Region 5 A-AA Tournament championship match.
“It’s not fun playing away,” Blue Devil sophomore midfielder Brady Briley said. “Home-field advantage is always great. You get the crowd into it. You feel more comfortable at home too.”
White House (18-2-3) scored just 58 seconds into the match, when senior Owen Clark headed Briley’s free kick into the right side of the goal.
“It gave us the confidence to play the rest of the game,” Briley said. “I feel like we had the momentum the rest of the game. It’s great to score an early goal.”
Then, in the 32nd minute, White House freshman Matt Hooper played a short through-ball ahead to senior forward Mark Lees, who placed a shot inside the left post.
The Blue Devil defense did the rest.
It was the 11th shutout and 16th consecutive victory for White House, which improved to 8-5 in regional championship matches.
“It’s huge,” Briley said. “It’s everything right now. We deserve this. We’ve worked harder than probably any program in the state.”
Briley – a defensive midfielder – was named the defensive most valuable player of the tournament. Briley was joined on the all-tournament team by Lees and three defenders – Clark and sophomores Corey Curtis and Seth Bumbalough.
“Brady Briley shut down things in the middle, and Logan (Trimmer, the team’s senior goalkeeper) has made some of his best saves over the last two games,” Lamberth said. “If it got past the middle, our back line shut things down. Matthew Smith didn’t make it (the all-tournament team), but he was a huge part of that.”
White House will host the loser of Thursday evening’s Region 6 A-AA championship match between Christ Presbyterian Academy and Page in one of the eight A-AA sectionals on Saturday. The sectional winners advance to the state tournament.
Reach Craig Harris at email@example.com or at 615-575-7138. Follow him on Twitter @HarrisGNESports.
White House boys soccer regional championship matches
1996 Lost to visiting Clarksville Academy 3-2
1997 Won at Clarksville Academy 4-3 (overtime)
1998 Defeated visiting Greenbrier 3-0
1999 Won at Portland 1-0 on PKs
2000 Won at Mt. Juliet Christian 3-1
2001 Won at Springfield 3-1
2006 Won at Portland 1-0
2009 Lost at Station Camp 1-0
2011 Lost at David Lipscomb 1-0
2012 Defeated visiting David Lipscomb 2-1
2013 Lost at Christ Presbyterian Academy 3-0
2015 Lost to visiting White House Heritage 3-2
2016 Won at Martin Luther King Magnet 2-0