East Hamilton coach John Millard stresses to his teams that soccer is, for the most part, a simple game. His Lady Hurricanes proved that Thursday afternoon with a fairly easy goal early in their Region 3-A/AA title match against McMinn Central.
But nothing from that point on was quite as easy.
Jordan Kaset scored in the first five minutes, but the Lady Hurricanes had to hold on for dear life in repeating their region championship with a 1-0 victory over the Chargerettes.
East Hamilton (16-3-1) will host Chattanooga Christian in Saturday's sectionals, while the Chargerettes (16-4) will travel to face the Lady Irish.
Millard praised the job of the defense for bending but not breaking.
"McMinn Central is an athletic team with pace up top," he said. "We were able to score early, then had to stay organized on defense, and for us to do it for 75 minutes is impressive. Living on a 1-0 lead is very difficult for the players, but they minimized their mistakes."
Kaset gave the Lady Hurricanes the goal they needed, scoring on a cross from eighth-grader Megan Walker that was initially missed by a cutting Chandler Smith. McMinn Central's pressure increased as the match went along, but the East Hamilton defense came up big for the second consecutive match to claim the win.
"We knew East Hamilton was a really good passing team, but we realized they weren't good at finishing," McMinn Central coach Bill McConkey said. "We performed all right, but we chased their passes and got tired out."