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McCallie soccer

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The screenshot on the phone of many of the McCallie soccer players — one of rival Baylor celebrating after defeating the Blue Tornado in a shootout last season — served as a reminder of how close they came to consecutive state championships.

For Stone Roebuck, the pain of last season's loss won't go away, but Thursday certainly eased the blow.

McCallie dominated from start to finish of the 2019 TSSAA Division II-AA state final, scoring a pair of first-half goals and defeating Montgomery Bell Academy 2-0 to secure its third state championship and second in three seasons.

Roebuck, who will play football at Berry College next season, had decided not to play soccer his final year — prior to losing the 2018 state final. When asked how much that loss hurt, he said, "Bad."

"It feels great to get this one," Roebuck said. "We'd won once before and I had a lot of buddies on this team, but now I've got two. We went to three finals in a row and it felt great to get back up here, but we weren't satisfied with that."

The Blue Tornado (14-3-2) struggled with offense in the first half of Wednesday's semifinal against Father Ryan. That wasn't the case Thursday as Neal Carlson got McCallie on the board in the 11th minute with a free kick from the right side of the box. The Tornado got some insurance 22 minutes later when A.J. Gallup scored from the right side.

The Big Red (11-5-1) were held to seven attempts on goal, all saved by Andrew Prescott.

With about two minutes remaining, McCallie coach Chris Cushenbery took out Roebuck, who walked down the line of players on the Blue Tornado bench celebrating with playful smacks to the back of the head.

"They were motivated for a year," Cushenbery said. "They said, 'We want to come back and do this.' There weren't a ton of guys on this team that were on that team, but those kids were not going to let this happen again. They wanted it, and what a great performance today.

"I'm so pleased with how hard they played today."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3 or at Facebook.com/VolsUpdate.

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