CUMBERLAND GAP, Tenn. | Last season, Oneida fell to Cumberland Gap in the regular season, then ruined the Panthers’ postseason with victories in the district and region championship games.
There was no repeat this season, as Cumberland Gap jumped out to a 4-0 first half lead en route to a 6-0 victory over the Lady Indians in Thursday’s District 3-A championship game.
Oneida lost to its soccer nemesis in the regular season only because Cumberland Gap broke a tie on a penalty kick after a controversial call in the waning minutes.
But the competitive phase of Thursday’s rematch ended early, and Lady Indians coach Phil Newport opted to pull his starters with 23 minutes remaining to save his players for next week’s region tournament.
Newport wound up being ejected from Thursday’s game. His second yellow card came on a technicality, after he had previously been carded for protesting a call. After his departure, the officials carded the Oneida bench again.
“The game got way too physical with 20 minutes to go and Cumberland Gap started playing through us without repercussions for the intent of their actions,” Newport said.
Newport was particularly disgruntled after the Panthers’ sweeper muscled one of his players with no card being awarded.
“Kam Stiltner tripped a player earlier and received a yellow that was way less severe than her tackle,” Newport said of the Cumberland Gap player’s infraction.
Cumberland Gap’s star forward, Aly Ramsey, scored five goals in the Panthers’ win.
“We lost containment on Ramsey some tonight and she is too good for us to allow that to happen,” Newport said.
Cumberland Gap’s second goal was scored on an apparent offsides, which was not called.
“I had a clear view of the second score because it was right in front of me,” Newport said. “The players was a good five yards behind my back line and no call. I thought it was a very deflating play allowing the score to stand.”
As the play became more physical late in the game, Newport conceded the contest with substitutions.
“Gap never subbed, which is their right, but I think it reflected badly on them,” he said.
“There were a lot of things that were out of hand in this game,” Newport added. “The official made us play a man down until Gap scored the sixth goal and then came back and said he should not have removed our 11th player so we re-entered a player back. I don’t recall anything like that ever happening.”
Newport was not happy with the lack of whistles.
“The longer the game went on the more invested they were in going after particular players,” he said. “The ref let them go.”
With the loss, Oneida will travel to Loudon on Tuesday for an elimination game in the Region 2-A semifinals. The Redskins defeated Polk County 4-0 in the District 4-A championship game on Thursday. Tuesday’s game will kick off at 6:30 pm.