After splitting their two regular season match-ups, the Somerset High School boys soccer team won the game that counted in a 2-0 win over Pulaski County in the 47th District Tournament championship game on Monday at PCHS Soccer Field.
Just eight eight days ago, Pulaski County downed Somerset by the exact same score of 2-0.
"Our boys showed up and played together tonight," stated Somerset High school first-year coach Tyler Gillum. "They realized they were going to be in a dog fight with Pulaski County. This is one of the best depth-wise and talent-wise best Pulaski County team and they were hungry for a win. I told our boys if they don't come out to play just on that level, that it was going to be a long night. Our boys played together and that was the difference between the last time we played Pulaski County and tonight."
"We didn't win the middle the last time we played Pulaski County,"Gillum complained. "I told Josh Tucker and Christian Whitis to step up and fill that gap in the middle. They took it to heart, and they absolutely performed the way we needed them to tonight.
Holding onto a slim 1-0 lead, Somerset was having to cover the entire field to keep Pulaski County from scoring the equalizer in the last 40 minutes of the match. Pulaski County's Henry Gillum, Timothy Brinson, Gabe Rader and Sawyer Gambill all had attempts at goal in the second half. In the 69th minute, Pulaski County junior Sawyer Gambill had the Maroons' best attempt at goal off a free kick from Gillum.
But in the 79th minute of the match, Somerset junior Chanler Edwards passed off to senior Derek Arias for the Jumpers' second goal of the match.
"I have always said a two-goal lead is the scariest lead in soccer, but with that time remaining, the game script, and how everything was going I knew we had it won. When we got that second goal, my heart skipped a beat. It was very humbling to see our hard work pay off and seeing how we were able to come back from adversity we had been afflicted with the last couple of weeks."
The Briar Jumpers struck early when senior Josh Tucker scored off a rebound from eight yards out in the fifth minute of the game. Tucker got off three shots in first 19 minutes of the game.
The first half ended with Somerset leading by a slim 1-0 margin. In the first 40 minutes, Somerset outshot Pulaski 6 to 4.
Pulaski County junior Henry Gillium had a good attempt off a close range header that was defender by Somerset freshman keeper Landen Lonesky in the 27th minute. Pulaski County senior Timothy Brinson had two attempts in the first half.
In the match, Somerset's Josh Tucker and Andrew Tomlinson had four shot attempts each. For Pulaski County, Timothy Brinson had three attempts. Henry Gillum and Gabe Rader had two attempts each.
For the match, Somerset outshot Pulaski County 11 to 8. Somerset keeper Landen Lonesky had eight saves on the night, while Pulaski County keeper Isaac Smith had four saves.
Named to the 47th District All-Season Team was Tyson Absher, Timothy Brinson, Sawyer Gambill and Henry Gillum from Pulaski County; and Josh Tucker, Derek Arias, Chanler Edwards and Christian Whitis from Somerset.
Somerset (8-5-1) and Pulaski County (7-4-3) will both advance to the 12th Region Tournament next week.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.