Special to The Chronicle
The Mt. Juliet Golden Bears had a lackluster beginning to the 2013 soccer season. At the midpoint of the season the Golden Bears had only managed a 2-5-3 record with a five game losing streak, then the team started to come together.
Under the direction of Head Coach Brain Valkyrie and Assistant Coach Tommy Holt, the Bears reeled of four wins to start the second half of the season. That improved their record by the end of regular season play to 8-7-3, beating cross town rival Wilson Central Wildcats in the final game 2-0.
This past week in the District tournament, the Golden Bears marched their way to the final game in single elimination play with victories over Gallatin, 2-1, and Station Camp, 3-0.
In Friday’s Championship game, Mt. Juliet faced the historically strong Hendersonville Commandos who delivered The Golden Bears an early season loss of 4-0. However, the District 9-AAA match up at Hendersonville would prove to be a much more challenging game for the Commandos.
Both Mt. Juliet and Hendersonville would have good opportunities early, but it was the Commandos who managed to take the early lead during the 15th minute of the first half. As the second half came to a close it looked as though the Commandos would hold on for the victory. However, Cameron Woodfin scored during the 38th minute with only two minutes left in regulation to send the game into overtime. After two, ten minute periods of sudden death, the game remained locked at 1-1. Then after two additional five minute periods of sudden death it was penalty kicks that would decide the outcome.
After the third penalty kick, Mt. Juliet missed wide to give Hendersonville a chance to clinch the victory. However, the next PK from Hendersonville missed high. On the last kick from Hendersonville, Mt. Juliet Golden Bears keeper Baker Bachman came up big in the muddy goal box with the save. At the end of regulation, four overtimes and PK’s, the Mt. Juliet High School Men’s Soccer program claimed the District Championship in a grueling 110 minutes of play ending the Commandos’ 13-game winning streak and bid for three straight tournament titles.
Penalty kicks were scored by: Nick Jackel, Eric Whitmire, Colbe Earles, Woodfin.
The win brings Mt. Juliet (11-7-3) home for Tuesday’s Region 5-AAA Tournament semifinal where they will host Dickson County (15-2-2). Hendersonville (16-3-1) must play away for their semifinals against District 10-AAA champion Rossview (14-4-2).
With a win in the region semifinals the Golden Bears are assured a game May 16 in the regional finals and also a spot in sectional play May 18.
Dickson County’s loss to Rossview (2-0) in the District 10-AAA championship match was just the second all season long. The Hendersonville Commandos beat Dickson County earlier this season 1-0.