Hawks defend the nest for region spot

Hawks defend the nest for region spot

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Hawks defend the nest for region spot

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Merrol Hyde Magnet sophomore Daniel See gains possession under pressure from Smith County senior Ethan Babcock during second-half action.

Merrol Hyde Magnet sophomore Daniel See gains possession under pressure from Smith County senior Ethan Babcock during second-half action.

HENDERSONVILLE The Merrol Hyde Magnet boys soccer team was undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to earn a berth in the Region 4 A-AA Tournament after failing to do so last season.

For the Hawks, the excitement was enhanced once they wrapped up their 5-1 victory over Smith County in Tuesday evening’s District 8 A-AA Tournament semifinal.

Merrol Hyde Magnet is hosting the tournament for the first time on their school’s campus.

Junior Connor Dunn scored twice, converting a penalty kick 5:23 into the match and netting a second-half tally off of a corner kick with 3:13 to play.

Merrol Hyde Magnet junior Josh Hayward gains possession during first-half action. Hayward scored two second-half goals in the Hawks’ 5-1 victory on Tuesday evening.

Merrol Hyde Magnet junior Josh Hayward gains possession during first-half action. Hayward scored two second-half goals in the Hawks’ 5-1 victory on Tuesday evening.

“It means a lot,” Dunn said of the chance to advance on the team’s home field. “It’s fun to not have to travel hours for every single district game, every night. It’s nice for us to have our home fans here cheering us on.”

Smith County (8-2-3) – the No. 1 seed from the 8 A-AA East Division – struck first as junior Zack Culbreath scored 4:55 into the match as the Hawks (9-4) were unable to successfully clear the ball away following a corner kick.

“I think being down 1-0 was on us,” Hawks head coach Jim Carr said. ‘We had a fairly sizable error in the middle of the field that gave (Smith County) that opportunity, and we learned from that.”

Merrol Hyde Magnet senior Camden Cutright dribbles upfield during second-half action.

Merrol Hyde Magnet senior Camden Cutright dribbles upfield during second-half action.

Senior Dylan DeVries scored the go-ahead goal with 22:12 remaining, and junior Josh Hayward provided a pair of insurance goals later in the second half.

The Hawks – seeded second out of the 8 A-AA West Division – advanced to Thursday evening’s final to face Central Magnet.

Reach Chris Brooks at cbrooks@tennessean.com or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter @CB_SumnerSports.

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