MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Having been on their heels for much of the first half, the Chattanooga Christian soccer team got a nice surprise by taking an early lead on Christian Academy of Knoxville in their A/AA state-quarterfinal match Wednesday. From that moment on, they settled in and played better the rest of the way.
Unfortunately, so did their opponents.
The Lady Warriors shook off a 1-0 halftime deficit and netted a pair of second-half goals, the final by Cori Crocker in the 68th minute of a 2-1 victory to advance to the state semifinals against Christ Presbyterian Academy.
The Lady Chargers (10-9-4) took a 1-0 lead on a counter in the 14th minute, with Beata Brock scoring on a shot that hit the inner part of the side post and bounded over the plane. The CCS defense had bent, but not yet broke in the first half as CAK held a 7-2 edge on shots.
"We shot ourselves in the foot by not sticking any goals in the first half," CAK coach Reid Estus said. "CCS had a lot of defenders back, so I told the girls at halftime they were going to have to shoot early. I told them to let it fly, but to put their shots on frame."
The Lady Warriors (15-7-2) heeded Estus's advice in the second half, firing shots from all angles and distances. They tied the match on a goal by Hannah Schoutko in the 49th minute, then took the lead on Cori Crocker's goal in the 68th. CCS continued to battle, gaining a couple of opportunities in the latter stages of the match -- including close shot attempts by Hannah Henry and Sara Farlett late -- but were unable to get another shot past Maggie Piety, who had a nice diving save in the final minutes.
The Lady Chargers lose five seniors.
"I thought we created until the last minute," CCS coach Cal Sneller said. "We felt calmer and were more patient. We got up in the first half, but we had to forget about that, dig our heels in and create some chances.
"CAK is CAK, but as the match went on, our kids grew up and realized that it was just a name. There's nothing to be disappointed about tonight."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.