It's better to play sloppy and win than it is to be crisp and lose -- especially in the playoffs.
The Notre Dame girls' soccer team won a Region 4-A/AA semifinal 2-0 over Central Magnet on Tuesday night and will host the region championship game Thursday against Chattanooga Christian.
That gave Lady Irish coach Jim Schermerhorn about 48 hours to address all of the errors -- mental and physical -- that his team made in what could have been a lopsided victory.
"I'm frustrated, but we're moving on and that's the most positive thing I can say," Schermerhorn said. "Everything we worked on all year didn't show up in this game."
But Notre Dame won, and that's the most important thing. Emma Higgins scored in the eighth minute and MacKenzie Nadeau scored in the 60th minute.
The Lady Irish (10-6-4) controlled the game and had possession on the Tigers' half of the field for at least 90 percent of the time. They outshot Central Magnet 28-4.
The Tigers (12-8-1), who are in their fourth year of existence, lost 6-0 to Chattanooga Christian in the semifinals last year. Thursday, freshman goalkeeper Abby Coleman saved 17 shots that the Lady Irish fired.
"We came here to prove a point, and the idea was to be prepared and not get run over and that we're ready to play with anybody in the state," Tigers coach Ray Bennett said. "Losing 2-0 tonight proved that."
Coleman couldn't stop a shot by Higgins early in the game. Higgins corralled the ball at her feet from about 10 yards out and blasted it low into the right corner. Coleman deflected the initial shot, but the ball rolled over her and then over the goal line.
Nadeau scored on a corner-kick set play. She passed it in short, took the pass back from Elizabeth Ciabattone and then blasted her shot inside the near post.
"We're shooting, but we need to put more on frame," Nadeau said. "Our defense was solid because they didn't get anything through."
The Lady Irish played well enough to continue trying to match the 2010 state championship team, but their play will have to improve to touch the trophy.
"The mistakes we're making were mental," Schermerhorn said. "We're not going to survive playing that way, I can tell you that."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.