published Friday, October 26th, 2012

Lady Irish clip CCS 2-0 for region title

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    Chattanooga Christian's Allie Vannoy and Notre Dame's Laura Champion pursue the ball Thursday at Notre Dame.
    Photo by Angela Lewis.
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Standing 5-foot-2, Blair Barker is not supposed to score on corner kicks for the Notre Dame girls' soccer team. In fact, she has a very distinct responsibility on the set piece.

"I'm supposed to stand in front of the goalkeeper in hopes of possibly distracting them," she said.

So pardon her shock when Barker made possibly the play of the evening on a corner.

The Lady Irish senior headed in the Mackenzie Nadeau corner kick that iced a 2-0 victory over Chattanooga Christian in the Region 4-A/AA championship match Thursday night.

The Irish (10-2-5) will host McMinn Central, which lost 1-0 to East Hamilton, in a sectional match Saturday. The CCS Lady Chargers will play at East Hamilton.

"This win means a lot, since CCS beat us all three times we played them last year," Barker said. "It means we're now one step further, one step closer to the state tournament. We want to show that two years ago was no fluke."

The Lady Chargers (13-4-4) came out attacking and put immense pressure on the Notre Dame defense. They finished with only four attempts on goal in the first half but had numerous other opportunities that sailed high or wide.

The Lady Irish started to apply pressure in the second half, and after knocking on the door, Erin Freeman took a shot that was deflected by CCS keeper Ellen Stone. Emma Higgins was there to finish the play for the one-goal advantage.

"In the second half of last game, CCS's intensity was high and they were all over us," Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn said. "We didn't want to let that happen again, because you can absorb that pressure for only so long."

Stone finished with eight saves for the Lady Chargers, while Hannah Henry and Ashley Simmons helped key the CCS attack with some solid shots.

"I thought we played well. In the first half we were phenomenal," CCS coach Cal Sneller said. "We started to get some nerves in the second half and didn't take care of the ball.

"We do have to travel, but we will be ready."

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