MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Arts & Sciences soccer coaches stood by the team's bench during halftime of Tuesday's match against Madison Magnet, discussing adjustments before walking over to share them with their players.
Once they arrived, they saw senior midfielder Ben Harrison, who couldn't play due to a red card in a previous match, using cones to demonstrate to his teammates what they should be doing — and beating the coaching staff to the exact message it was about to share.
The Patriots listened, scoring a pair of goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half and cruising to a 4-1 win in the opening round of the Class A state tournament at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex. Signal Mountain will join CSAS in the semifinals after dominating Memphis Business 7-0 to advance.
Wednesday's Class A semifinals will look exactly as they did last year, with CSAS (13-5-4) facing Gatlinburg-Pittman (17-3-1) and Signal Mountain (17-3) facing Franklin Grace (19-2-2). Both matches are at 7:30 p.m. EDT. In 2018, Gatlinburg-Pittman beat the Patriots 1-0 before topping the Eagles 2-1 to earn its first state championship.
On Tuesday, Gatlinburg-Pittman beat Douglass 9-0, and Franklin Grace topped Sweetwater by the same score.
CSAS led Madison Magnet 2-0 on scores by Rohit Krishnamoorthy and Jalil Barnes less than nine minutes into the match before surrendering a goal to Edward Havercamp on a penalty kick midway through the half. It was still 2-1 at halftime.
"We had to stick to our game," CSAS coach David Poss said. "This is the surface we need — get the ball off your feet and we'll make things happen if we move into space. We play possession soccer and make something happen in the final third. We did that in the beginning, and we had a lull in between where we got away from our game.
"The key was to get back to it."
Adin Castle made it 3-1 on a header in the 50th minute, with Krishnamoorthy scoring a minute later to build the final advantage. Fisher Latham had three saves while playing more than 60 minutes in goal for the Patriots, and Nicholas Webber had two assists and Asa Nichols one.
Signal Mountain led Memphis Business 3-0 at halftime. Clay Gallant finished with a hat trick and an assist, while George Coogan, Aaron Easterly, Nicholas Galea and Keeling Kennedy were credited with a goal apiece, Samuel Poss had two assists and Max Burk had one.
The lead allowed coach Richard Northcutt to limit the playing time for his starters, who could be counted on for bigger minutes going forward, and add experience for substitutes.
"We were able to get guys in that don't get in much," he said.
"We know that Franklin Grace has three outstanding talents, three guys as good or better than anybody we've seen. Our strength is teamwork and their strength is that they've got some studs, some guys that can go. We were fortunate to get by them last year, but it can go either way. We just know we're going to play someone that's very challenging."