published Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Sale Creek students helping Hixson team win

DISTRICT TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE


Monday, October 17

Quarterfinals

District 5-A/AA tournament:

Silverdale Academy at Sweetwater, 5

Tuesday, October 18

Semifinals

District 5-A/AA tournament:

Silverdale/Sweetwater winner at McMinn Central

Grace Academy at Boyd-Buchanan, 5

District 6-A/AA tournament:

Red Bank at East Hamilton, 5

Arts & Sciences at Hixson, 6

District 7-A/AA tournament:

Signal Mountain at Notre Dame

Sequatchie County at Chattanooga Christian

District 5-AAA tournament:

Ooltewah at Soddy-Daisy, 7

Cleveland at McMinn County, 7:30

When Chassie Harris was 5 years old, she saw best friend Melanie Hull walk into their nanny's house one day in a soccer uniform. She inquired about it and decided she was going to play, too.

School paths took them separate ways, but a TSSAA clause has allowed them to reunite on the soccer field.

Harris attends Sale Creek, but because that school doesn't have a soccer program, girls from there are allowed to play for Hixson High. Harris and Hull are captains for the Lady Wildcats, who are 8-7-1 and seeded second in the District 6-A/AA tournament, playing Arts & Sciences in a semifinal Tuesday.

Harris, a junior, has eight goals and six assists while senior Hull has four assists. Michaela Lewis is another Sale Creek student playing for Hixson. The team's leading scorer, Elisabeth Adams with 17 goals and 14 assists, also was from Sale Creek but no longer is playing.

"When the Sale Creek girls got there, we did what we could do to try and make them feel at home," Hull said. "I've known Chassie forever and we're best friends, so it really wasn't as awkward for her when she got here."

The two were instrumental in a team bonding project with T-shirts created. Hull said Harris "kept things organized and really got into it."

"I looked at it as something to unify us," Harris said, noting that she's attended Hixson homecomings all three years of high school. "Being a Sale Creek student, having a Hixson soccer T-shirt meant a lot to me."

The two lauded the team's family environment.

"We've had a rocky year, but I think that because we're such a strong family, we've been able to stick it out and have played hard," Harris said. "We've won some and we've lost some, but we've been able to get through it together.

"As team captain, I don't think that we've set a goal that we can't reach. I've got complete confidence in my teammates, and I think that we're going to win Tuesday and go to the district finals."

Hixson coach Jeff Dean agreed that the team concept has been crucial for his two-school Lady Wildcats.

"My goal is to go out and be a family, to just do the best you can and have fun doing it," Dean said. "At this level, it's all about winning. I'm sorry -- it's the truth, but you can have fun doing it.

"If you're not a family and doing things together -- if you are a bunch of individuals and don't compete well as a team -- you can forget it. These girls have been a family, and you'll have good days and bad days, but in the end when you get on the field, you'll compete just like that -- a family."

n Top-ranked Baylor clinched a share of the Division II-AA East/Middle region championship with a 2-0 victory Saturday against third-ranked Father Ryan. Kelly Pannell and McKenzie Thomas had goals for the Lady Red Raiders (15-1, 6-0), who will get a bye into the state playoffs, which start Saturday.

GPS (8-6-2, 3-3-1) is the fourth seed and will host either Brentwood Academy -- which the Bruisers tied 1-1 on Friday night -- or Pope John Paul II on Saturday.

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