EVENSVILLE — Walker Valley traveled over the river to do battle with Rhea County Tuesday evening.
By the end of 80 minutes of soccer, it was the Mustangs who rode away with a 4-3 victory over the Golden Eagles.
The traveling Mustang team was forced to play catch-up for most of the evening, but ultimately came up with what it took to win in the final minutes of the game.
"We maintained our composure even after giving up three goals. We kept attacking and looking for our chances,” Walker Valley coach Tom Bayliss explained.
Rhea was able to get one past the Walker Valley keeper in the 13th minute, but sophomore Blayne Carroll was able to tie things up 1-all less than a minute later.
The Eagles found the back of the net again in the 30th minute, and went into the half with a 2-1 lead over the Mustangs.
Ten minutes into the second half, Carroll once again tied things up for Walker Valley.
A free kick at the edge of the Mustangs’ penalty box in the 64th minute resulted in a third goal for Rhea County.
Carroll was able to come through for his team with under eight minutes left on the clock as he put his third goal of the night into the frame.
“I’ll take three goals from Blayne Carroll anytime — that never hurts,” Bayliss commented.
With the match tied 3-all, Walker Valley’s Jolen West was able to get the game winning goal in the final four minutes of play off of a penalty kick.
“We were in the attacking half for most of the second half, and Jolen West was winning the space on the right flank every time. It was inevitable that he was going to make something happen,” Bayliss said. “Andrew Hannah stepped into a new role tonight and played well just in front of our back line. He and Noah Robinson each got an assist from their defensive positions.”
Walker Valley had 17 shots Tuesday, while Rhea County had seven.
Mustang keeper Skyler Swafford had three saves.
On Thursday, Walker Valley begins District 5-AAA play when Soddy-Daisy comes to town for a 6 p.m. game.
MUSTANGS 4, EAGLES 3
Halftime score: 2-1. Goals: Blayne Carroll 3, Jolen West (WV). Assists: Andrew Hannah, Noah Robinson Record: Walker Valley 2-2.