In Notre Dame soccer coach Jim Schermerhorn's eyes, a good start should equal a good finish. Tuesday against Signal Mountain, his second-ranked Lady Irish had a good start and they definitely were pleased with the result.
Notre Dame scored three goals in the first 18 minutes and withstood a furious second-half attack to defeat the seventh-ranked Lady Eagles 3-1 in a key District 7-A/AA matchup at Signal Mountain.
The offense did its part, but Schermerhorn praised the efforts of defenders Ashley Henry, Courtney Boyd, Laura Champion and Liz Kidwell in addition to keeper Grace Courter as the Lady Irish improved to 3-5 on the season -- 2-0 in the district.
"I'm pleased with everyone in our back five," Schermerhorn said. "They definitely stepped up and played well for us tonight."
Gaby Gurrola scored Notre Dame's first goal in the seventh minute, but in a five-minute span, goals by Sophie Mullin and Blair Barker stretched the one-goal lead to a three-goal advantage.
"I really liked the way we started. We had good intentions and were working hard," Schermerhorn said. "Our ability to score early really helped boost our confidence.
"This win is huge for our confidence. This district is tough with Signal and CCS, and with the high pressure for us to win those games, this is a big win."
Signal (2-2, 1-2) did have an improved effort in the second half, with more aggression, but the Notre Dame defenders were able to clean up a lot of attempted through passes and runs down the sidelines.
The hotly contested battle led to a yellow card for each team.
Signal scored off a Madison Kent corner kick, when a ball loose in the box was headed in by senior Eryn Turner.
The Lady Eagles fall to 1-10 against district rivals Notre Dame and CCS. They held a one-goal advantage against CCS only to lose 4-1 on Aug. 30.
"We tend to come out strong, but after scoring early [against CCS] we let down and ended up getting beat," Signal coach Pam Shelton said. "Tonight I thought we weighed things out, but then we give up a fluky goal on a set piece.
"Give credit to Notre Dame, though. They work hard and know how to win. I would love for my girls to have that focus. We just have to strive to be more like them."