Ooltewah's Felipe Munoz, left, and Trey Tucker, right, congratulate Callum Wishart after he scored a goal against Cookeville Thursday at Ooltewah High School. Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press
There has been only one stranger occurrence for Ooltewah coach Rick Adolph during the 2011 soccer season, but in that case — a 7-5 win over Bradley Central — the Owls won.
Thursday in the Region 3-AAA championship match, the District 5 champions weren’t so lucky.
Ooltewah fell victim to a pair of own goals against Cookeville, the last with under 10 minutes to play as the Cavaliers won 3-2 and claimed their first region championship since 2002.
Ooltewah will travel to Murfreesboro for a sectional match Saturday against Riverdale, which defeated Blackman 1-0 in overtime in the Region 4 final. Cookeville will host Blackman.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Adolph said. “We created opportunities and played well enough to win.”
Cookeville’s aggressiveness — particularly on free kicks — played a large part in all three Cavaliers goals. After they trailed 2-1 at halftime, a set piece led to a flurry in the box, with an Ooltewah defender eventually kicking the ball in his own net.
Another play off a free kick led to Cookeville’s go-ahead and eventual winning goal.
“They had some well-designed and well-executed set pieces,” Adolph said.
Said Cookeville coach Sam Matson: “We lacked that aggression in the first half and came out lackluster.
“We executed our set pieces pretty well and threw some guys forward. It was lucky that we were able to get two own goals, but we’ll take it. It’s a long time since we’ve hosted a sectional game.”
Callum Wishart scored both goals for Ooltewah (11-6-1), the second coming late in the first half.
Cookeville’s first goal came when Matt Nisbet passed an indirect kick to Ben Laws, who crossed to John Birdwell for a goal.
“It was a good match that we needed, but the guys deserved better,” Adolph said. “At the end of the day, it’s about how many goals cross the line, but I can’t complain because the guys fought until the end.”