Irish earn region title on goal-line stop, transition

Irish earn region title on goal-line stop, transition

October 25th, 2013 by David Uchiyama in Sports - Preps

Notre Dame's Sofia Olenchek, left, celebrates her second half goal with teammate Meagan Eiselstein as the Lady Irish defeat Chattanooga Christian 1-0 Thursday at home.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

The deciding action of the 80-minute Region 4-A/AA girls' soccer championship between Chattanooga Christian and Notre Dame occurred in less than 60 seconds.

Notre Dame goalkeeper Taylor Green stopped a shot by CCS junior Hannah Henry with the ball on the goal line -- not completely over, as the rules of soccer dictate. Then the Lady Irish transitioned that stop into the only score of the game when Sofia Olenchek curled a shot from the left flank inside the far post in the 71st minute.

"We turned it around this game and got it together," Olenchek said. "The ball popped out and I'm like, 'I have time,' and I took the shot."

The only goal of the game delighted an adult Notre Dame fan who honked his vuvuzela. The victory and accompanying region championship trophy delighted Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn, whose team had played below standards in beating Central Magnet 2-0 in the semifinals.

"Like I complained on Tuesday when we weren't mentally ready, tonight we were better and it was much better," Schermerhorn said. "Our possession was better, our defense was better, and if we don't play that way, CCS has the trophy."

Each team had other scoring opportunities, including three shots by Notre Dame that hit the crossbar or a post, and both will continue their pursuit of a state championship in sectional games Saturday. Notre Dame (11-6-4) will host Grace Academy, which lost in penalty kicks to McMinn Central. CCS (9-7-4) will travel to Englewood.

"It was an intense game. We used a lot of girls and they did a decent job," CCS coach Cal Sneller said. "We had some good opportunities, and [Green] made an incredible save."

Then Olenchek made an incredible goal.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.