The Notre Dame boys' soccer team would have many reasons to be tired of facing its chief rival three times a year - twice in postseason championship matches. According to William DeBarge, though, the Chattanooga Christian Chargers always are a welcome sight.
DeBarge helped lead a strong defensive effort as the host Irish successfully defended their Region 4-A/AA championship with a 3-1 win over the Chargers on Thursday.
Notre Dame will host East Ridge, which fell 4-0 to East Hamilton in the Region 3 final, in a sectional matchup Saturday, while the Chargers will visit the Hurricanes in a rematch of last season.
"I don't think we ever get tired of playing CCS," DeBarge said. "We know we're going to get a good, competitive game. Tonight we just came out with intensity -- more than what we had in the first half the last time we played."
Notre Dame (8-8-2) created opportunities from the opening whistle. Christian Colvard and Baggio Card hooked up on a couple of attempts early, but the CCS defense held strong. The Irish duo finally broke through in the 23rd minute, with Card scoring on a ball that was deflected by a Chargers defender.
"I thought we did a better job of getting to the ball first tonight," Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn said. "We didn't do that last time, but we were better tonight.
"These matches are going to be intense and physical: You've got guys playing for trophies, and these two teams are going to battle."
The Irish made a counterattack for their second goal three minutes into the second half, stringing together six passes before Joe Koenig headed in a Paul Behlau cross. Six minutes later, Card and Colvard hooked up again, with the latter scoring to create a 3-0 edge.
The Chargers prevented the shutout when Clark Marshall scored in the 60th minute. Hamilton Bosgraf was credited with the assist on a nice set piece.
"When we got in a hole, we played more spirited," CCS coach Shawn Brower said. "We need to bring more effort before we're in that situation. Notre Dame was precise in their counters and did a great job with their transition.
"The best thing I can say is that I'm looking forward to our next game. East Hamilton is the team to beat in the city, and we're going to have to have our best game of the year to beat them, but if you're playing for a trip to state, you should be bringing your best anyway."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.