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Webb reaches state semis
Spartans score late to win state opener then lose to CBHS

Little Webb was mortally bitten by “the Big Bad Wolf” of Christian Brothers. But only after a tightly contested tussle, 1-0, in the Division II boys soccer state semifinals Thursday, May 24, in Mufreesboro.

Using “Little” and “Wolf” labels to characterize that CBHS is four times the size of Webb School (1,000 versus 250 male students) with strong tradition, Spartan head coach David Hultquist was pleased with execution and effort.

“Our defense did play outstanding,” the coach said, as Webb finishes with an 8-2-5 record that included a 1-0 quarterfinal win against Pope John Paul II. “Christian Brothers has a tradition of being here and being in that championship game. In many ways we had geared our entire season in preparing ourselves for playing in this kind of championship game. And I really felt like our guys rose to the occasion.

“I thought we had a gameplan we executed very well,” the coach added. After CBHS’s first and only goal 2:24 into the game, “I never felt there was a serious threat,” Hultquist said. “I thought our scheme took them out of their game. In the second half there were moments when they were upset. ... They like to possess and work it to the middle, and we took that away from them with our defensive scheme.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of the effort, what the kids put into this game and what they were willing to sacrifice. I never for one minute doubted our boys could play heads-up with them.”

Hultquist said in Webb’s 15 games the Spartans never trailed by more than one goal in a game — and with only one exception never led by more than one goal.

As a result, “We were prepared for close games,” Hultquist said, adding his team rallied late to beat McCallie earlier in the season.

Against the Knights, Ryan Stribley’s goal in the 69th minute, assisted by Jon Fuqua, provided victory. “The young man stepped up,” Hultquist said.

Five Webb seniors said goodbye.

“They’re a very special group, some of them have been playing for Webb School teams since the sixth-grade,” Hultquist said of seniors Eric Hultquist, C.A. Merrill, Patrick Baird, Andy Stein, Ernest Whitaker, Patrick Flynn, Dominic McVay and Reed Kramer.

As for captains Stein, Hultquist and Merrill, “They are just unbelievable leaders and competitors. … They make other player around them better. They have had a tremendous amount of success together as a group.”

Baird, the Spartan goalkeeper, “right at championship time he had four shutouts in a row,” Hultquist said.

The Spartan skipper labeled Whitaker “an incredible athlete” who, doubling as a track athlete, was a leg on Webb’s 4 X 200 state champion relay team while finishing fifth in the Division II 100-meter dash.


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