MURFREESBORO – Sophomore Elise Dobson scored twice in the first half and senior Baylee Farr scored two more in the second half to lead Nolensville to a 4-0 win in the first round of the Class AA state tournament Wednesday.
The Lady Knights advanced to the state semifinals for the second consecutive year with the shutout win over East Hamilton at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex.
“I think it’s really exciting to be back in the semifinals because we have a lot of seniors and we want to finish this for them,” said Dobson, who scored in the sixth minute off a ball from Millie Smith and again in the 27th on a shot that brushed the right post just out of reach of East Hamilton’s diving keeper.
“We want to get as far as we can,” Dobson continued. “I think in the second half, we showed more confidence and had better connections … I think we can keep it going tomorrow.”
Nolensville, which improved to 13-3-3, will play South Gibson (15-4-1) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex. The Lady Hornets edged Cumberland County 1-0 in the first round. Murfreesboro Central (17-2-3) and Greeneville (17-7) will meet in the other semifinal.
The Lady Knights dominated possession and out-shot East Hamilton 23-1, including 14 shots on goal, with a 6-1 advantage on corner kicks as well. Dobson had six shots to lead the team, while both Farr and Smith had three apiece.
“I really felt like I saw our confidence come through in the second half,” Nolensville coach Eric Shelton said. “We just executed better … and got into the rhythm of the game a little but better while finding our stride.”
Farr was the benefactor on two big plays in the second half. She scored first in the 44th from the left corner fo the box and then tacked on the final tally in the 56th on the second assist from Smith.
Shelton said his team, which fell to eventual state runner-up Seymour 2-0 in the semifinals last season, will build from that experience and try to keep Wednesday’s momentum rolling to earn a title shot.
“I think we’re about in the best position as we could possible find ourselves,” Shelton said. “We are healthy for one and last year we couldn’t say that.
“We have very high goals for us this year and we’ve taken the first step to achieve those goals.”
Shelton called Dobson the “best player of the 22 out there” Wednesday.
“She’s been a work horse for us all season,” he said, adding that senior Trystan Wepking continued to anchor the defense for the Lady Knights.
“She’s our coach on the field,” Shelton said of Wepking. “She’s the heart of the team.”
Wepking, Dobson and Farr will lead the Lady Knights against South Gibson Thursday.
“I want to see more of what we did in the second half,” Shelton said. “I want to see us continue to find each other and connect with each other and finish our chances when we get them.”