REGION 4-A/AA CHAMPIONSHIP
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN 0, NOTRE DAME 0
(CCS advances on PKs, 4-1)
Penalty-kick goals: Allie Sullivan, Ashley Simmons, Ellie Henry, Kruesi Brock (CCS); Liz Kidwell (ND). Shots on goal: CCS, 9-6. Saves: Grace Courter 3 (ND); Lauren Pruitt 2 (CCS). Records: CCS 17-3-2; Notre Dame 6-11-3.
Chattanooga Christian girls' soccer coach Cal Sneller has no fears putting the fate of his season in the hands of his junior class. Why? Because they keep coming through in the clutch.
Allie Sullivan, Ashley Simmons, Ellie Henry and Kruesi Brock hit penalty kicks as the second-ranked Lady Chargers claimed their first Region 4-A/AA championship with a 4-1 shootout victory after they and third-ranked Notre Dame tied 0-0.
CCS (17-3-2) will host Grace Academy, who fell 3-2 in penalty kicks in the Region 3-A/AA final against East Hamilton, in a sectional match Saturday. Notre Dame (6-11-2) will travel to face the Hurricanes.
Sneller noted that the same girls also took penalty kicks last season when the Lady Chargers defeated Signal Mountain in a district semifinal matchup.
"That's just a unique class," he said. "I completely trust them."
Notre Dame got a shootout goal from Liz Kidwell. Ashley Henry's shot bounced wide, and CCS keeper Lauren Pruitt saved a Laura Champion attempt.
The match was played outside of the box primarily. While both teams had dangerous opportunities, neither was able to sneak a shot past Pruitt or Notre Dame keeper Grace Courter. The Lady Irish keeper saved a couple of dangerous opportunities, knocking a header attempt over the crossbar in the first half and getting a hand on a Natalie Thedford shot in the second half. The ball rolled toward the goal and bounced off the side post, but Henry was able to clear the ball out before Thedford could put in the go-ahead goal.
CCS's Hannah Henry was injured in the physical contest and not return. Sullivan and Simmons also went down during the match yet returned.
"We have to get some of our bodies back," Sneller said.
Lady Chargers assistant coach David Stanton likened the matchup of the two rivals to World War I, noting play just "sways back and forth."
"There was just great sustained play on both sides," he said. "We want to inch up and continue to get better as the season continues to go along, then be our best at the end."