Elisabeth Mouw was very happy Thursday evening. She was happy to be playing soccer again after being sidelined most of the season with an injury. She was happy because she had scored her first goal of the year.
And she was happy that she and her Grace Academy teammates had clinched the top seed for the District 5-A/AA tournament.
The Lady Golden Eagles did so with a 3-1 victory over McMinn Central. Mouw, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the spring, is in her second week back and scored Grace's second goal.
"I'm really happy to be back out there," Mouw said. "I was glad I scored, but it was all because of my teammates. Tonight's a big win for us -- it's put us in good position going into the tournament."
Grace coach Gretchen Hammel said Mouw's presence back on the field couldn't have come at a better time of year.
"She's been itching to get back out there," Hammel said of the 2012 Best of Preps second-teamer. "It really helps having her back because she gives that extra step when she's out there, because she hasn't played. She's been helpful, not only when she's on the field, but verbally as well. I love putting her out there -- she's not in shape yet, but she makes the others work harder."
Grace (12-1-1, 7-0) wasted no time getting on the board, as Danielle Shumaker slotted a nice pass to Olivia Rowell for a goal in the third minute. Mouw added her goal in the 23rd minute, touching in a nice free kick from Holly Badger for what turned out to be the halftime lead.
Eighth-grader Rachel Beard scored in the 75th minute for the Lady Golden Eagles. McMinn Central's goal came from Jessi Young three minutes later. It was her area-leading 25th.
McMinn Central actually outshot Grace 8-7.
"Grace is a good team, but we created some opportunities," McMinn Central coach Bill McConkey said. "They're very experienced all over the field, and we made some mistakes in the midfield that you can't make against a team like that."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.