After leading 2-1 at the end of the first period, Middlesboro halted a late game surge to defeat Whitley County 3-2 on Tuesday. An aggressive offense gave the Yellow Jackets many opportunities for shots on goal.
Joe Nagle, Wiliam Nichols and Caleb Heck found opportunities early but came up short. Noah Brown scored Middlesboro’s first goal off a corner kick from Heck.
Midway through the first period, the Colonels tied the game up 1-1 after Dylan Neal barely missed a save. Evan Brock scored the Jacket’s second goal of the period to put Middlesboro up 2-1 going into the half.
“I thought we played the first half really aggressive offensively as far as getting after the ball and getting our foot on the ball for some good shots on goal,” said Middlesboro head coach Tim Millett. “We’re still kicking the ball a little high, but we’re getting in position to get ourself good shots on goal.”
Millett said getting the ball down will make the goalie work for a save.
“He’s either going to have to make a play or make a great play,” said the coach. “If he knocks it away, that gives us another opportunity to get the ball in the net.”
In the second period, Brock added another goal off a corner kick from Nichols to give Middlesboro a 3-1 lead. It was the second goal scored off a corner kick for the Jackets.
“We work on that a lot (corner kicks),” said Millett. “That has to be a threat for us. That’s one of our offensive strengths, and we have to take advantage of it every time we have a chance.”
Millett also credited his players for being aggressive and going after the ball.
“We’ve got some good kids. Calleb Heck does a good job putting the ball where we need it to be most of the time,” said the coach.
The Colonels added one more goal to the scoreboard but couldn’t mount a comeback. The Yellow Jackets won the game 3-2.
Neal had seven saves throughout the game. A strong back line limited the amount of shots on goal for Whitley County.
“He’s doing a great job in goal,” said Millett about Neal. “He’s learned really well what to do. He made a couple of mistakes of trying to come out too far to make a play, but he’s just wanting to make a play. He’s wanting to be aggressive.”
Middlesboro (1-1) will host Oneida Baptist Institute (4-1) on Tuesday.
“OBI is traditionally a very strong, very skilled, very talented team,” said Millett. “We went up there last year during the season, and they manhandled us. We played them for the district championship, and we were much more competitive with them.”
Millett said the team will work on a few things to counteract some of OBI’s skill and speed.
“It’s going to be a big challenge,” said the coach. “It’s the All ‘A’ Region, so the winner of that one will move on in the All ‘A’ state tournament.”
Millett said it’s a great challenge and his team is excited and looking forward to the challenge.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN