KNOXVILLE — Hardin Valley Academy’s boys soccer team reached the Class AAA State semifinals in 2015 but the Hawks won’t be making a return trip to Murfreesboro this year.
HVA (4-8-2) saw its 2016 campaign come to an end Monday night with a 2-1 loss to West High School at Bill Wilson Field.
Mark Patterson, Hardin Valley’s first-year head coach, said that he wasn’t quite sure what to expect this season after the Hawks lost 12 seniors from last year’s squad that lost to Science Hill in the second round of the state tournament.
“Hardin Valley’s reputation has always been good but we really didn’t have any expectations because we lost 12 seniors from last year’s team and we have a fairly young team,” Patterson said. “We had some highs this year but when you’re young, you’re going to have some mistakes.
That’s the same for every sport.
“We finished our game and our season with two freshman center backs and I don’t think any other team had to do that. I’m proud of the boys for our effort this year.
HVA got its lone goal of the District 4-AAA quarterfinals from Tom Sissom.
The season-ending loss to the Rebels came six days after West (11-5-2) notched a 3-0 victory over the Hawks on Tuesday, May 3. That win locked up fourth place and home-field advantage to open the district tournament.
The Hawks saw their season come to an abrupt end but Patterson said that he’s looking forward to next season.
“This year was a learning year and rebuilding year for us,” Patterson said. “I told these boys to work hard over the summer and watch as much soccer as possible.
“Although we didn’t win anything this year, I think that we developed well and I’m happy with our boys. We had a fairly inexperienced team and I think they’ll come back and be better next year if they continue to work hard. I’m really pleased with effort that this team gave us.”
The season was disappointing by Hardin Valley’s high standards but the Hawks played third-seeded Farragut to a 1-1 draw and led until Brad Baker converted a penalty kick to tie the game’s final seconds at HVA.
Hardin Valley also had wins over Gallatin and Notre Dame in the Bearden Invitational in March.
Patterson also noted that his young squad struggled with the speed of high school varsity soccer.
“Our kids were inexperienced and they weren’t used to the speed of the game,” Patterson said. “This year was a big step up for them.”