ATHENS, Tenn. - McMinn County girls' soccer coach Brittany Hart admitted her team was caught a little off guard Tuesday, when they suffered a penalty-kick District 5-AAA loss to Cleveland.
The Lady Cherokees made sure that wasn't an issue Thursday.
They scored once in each half and won 2-0 over an undermanned East Hamilton team at the McMinn County Soccer Complex. Gabby Poston and Shelby Wilson scored the goals.
Even in victory, Hart could take pleasure only in the final result.
"I thought we played well in the first 10 minutes. We did everything I wanted them to do, but then we let up," Hart said. "We started playing sloppy soccer, and losing possession. I just think we lost our focus and our composure for a while."
They also might have lost a player, as senior midfielder Mia Kesler had to go to the hospital after a head-on collision with East Hamilton's Jordan Kaset midway through the first half. Kesler had a swollen cheekbone and had to have a CT scan, and Kaset was suffering concussion-like symptoms.
Poston's goal came in the fifth minute of the match, as she punched in a rebound off a corner kick. Wilson scored in the 51st minute for the Lady Cherokees (4-2-2, 1-1), assisted by Carson Ford.
"I don't know if we've fully recovered from Tuesday's match. I thought the girls started to look tired," Hart said. "Obviously, I wanted to win and we were able to do that tonight, but we still have a lot of work to do. If they incorporate what we do in practice and play a full 80 minutes, I think we'll be a good team."
It's been a season of injuries for the Lady Hurricanes (3-6-1, 1-1), so Thursday was an all-too familiar sight for coach John Millard. They lost sophomore midfielder Nicole Ford to an ACL in a preseason match, but the feisty bunch was able to create some opportunities.
Their best chance to score came on a cross that ended up on the foot of Megan Walker, whose shot hit the side post.
"It might have been a different match if we had scored there," Millard said. "I thought in the second half, we left it all out on the field. We had a couple of chances to make it interesting, but we just couldn't put one in the back of the net.
"I'm pleased with our response in the second half, though. I cannot speak poorly of our effort."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.