CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN 1,
EAST HAMILTON 0
Halftime score: 0-0. Goal: Hannah Henry. Assist: Beata Brock. Shots on goal: CCS, 9-4. Saves: Meghan Lively 6 (EH); Ellen Stone 2 (CCS). Records: CCS 14-4-4; East Hamilton 16-4-1.
Because of a crossbar, the Chattanooga Christian girls' soccer team is one step closer to a state championship.
The bar helped angle sophomore Hannah Henry's shot into the goal in the final minutes of the fourth-ranked Lady Chargers' Class A/AA sectional match Saturday against sixth-ranked East Hamilton. And the resulting 1-0 win helped Henry forget a missed opportunity earlier in the match.
Yet the fickle crossbar kept the Lady Hurricanes from a state-tournament appearance.
About midway through the second half, Shelby Balch crossed a ball into a wide-open Henry, who whiffed an opportunity to put her team ahead. She admitted afterward that she would have "probably beat myself up about it" had CCS lost.
A second-half shot by East Hamilton's Nicole Ford glanced off the crossbar but went straight down, failing to cross the line. It was a part of a second-half onslaught in which the Lady Hurricanes were on par in possession and created some dangerous opportunities.
"We made some adjustments and created some chances," East Hamilton coach John Millard said. "I thought we had one, but it just didn't happen.
"We played even in the second half against a solid CCS team."
The Lady Chargers (14-4-4) had East Hamilton on its heels in the first half. They took five shots in the first 40 minutes and dominated possession as the Lady Hurricanes just tried to hold on.
"We've battled all year," CCS coach Cal Sneller said. "We've had setbacks, but our backs did a good job of limiting their opportunities, and I thought we kept our composure in the second half."
The Lady Hurricanes finished 16-4-1 but one win short of a state-tournament appearance for the second straight year, and they move up to AAA next season.
Millard praised seniors Lauren Thomas, Chandler Smith and Danielle Branham for putting the program in the right direction moving forward.
"Our success is a product of them," he said. "They spent some tough years in a first-year program and taught younger girls to buy in and demanded more of them.
"They experienced adversity, so our success is a credit to them."