LOUDON, Tenn. | Oneida’s soccer season came to an end here Tuesday (Oct. 18), with a 2-1 loss in the Region 2-A semifinals.
The Lady Indians fell behind early, when Loudon scored two goals in the first five minutes of the match. After that, Oneida held the Redskins scoreless, but struggled to generate offense of its own.
A goal by Aliyah Douglas on a penalty kick early in the second half proved to be Oneida’s only score of the night.
The Lady Indians were playing without head coach Phil Newport, who was suspended for two games after being ejected from Thursday’s District 3-A championship game at Cumberland Gap. Newport was carded once for protesting a call, then received a second caution on a technicality when the referee chose to pull a yellow card due to a uniform violation when a reserve player checked into the game late.
Newport was not permitted to be on the sideline for Tuesday’s game, but was on the phone from beginning to end.
“From the sounds of it, the kids started with a ton of nerves while falling behind 2-0,” he said. “It seems like we got the better of it in the second half.
“Although there was no pressure on me, I think there has been an enormous amount of it put on these kids,” he added. “I do believe they have responded to that expectation very well.”
Oneida was behind the 8-ball after losing to Cumberland Gap in Thursday’s district game. That required the Lady Indians to go on the road for the region semifinals, where they faced a Loudon team that had won the District 4-A championship with a 4-0 victory over Polk County.
Nevertheless, Oneida would have been a logical favorite in the game. While Loudon boasted one of the best records in East Tennessee Class A soccer, the Redskins lost to Rockwood early in the season, 2-1. The Lady Indians twice defeated the Tigers, including with a 5-0 win in the District 3-A semifinals a week earlier.
However, a win in Tuesday’s match wasn’t to be, and one of the most successful runs in Oneida history ended. The 2022 season marks the first time since 2016 that the Lady Indians fall short of the substate round.
“The kids did not let me down in any way, shape or form,” Newport said. “All indications are they left it out there (on the field).”
Oneida will graduate six seniors from the 2022 team, including five starters. Aliyah Douglas leaves as the top goal-scorer in program history, with 73 career goals, including 20 during her senior season. The record was previously held by Macy Dunlap, with 58 career goals. Douglas finished with 50 points this season, and 206 for her career.
Another senior, Alexea Jones, finished the season with 15 goals and 37 points. Claire Burress finished with 12 goals and 29 points, despite being injured part of the season. Kamryn Kennedy finished with 11 goals and 31 points.
The other two senior starters on the team were Kenlee Duncan and Emma White.
“If there is a disappointment tonight it is that I could not be present for my team,” Newport said. “That is on me. The girls made comments like they were going out for me. They don’t owe me that. They fought hard to get it back.”