Signal Mountain senior Camilla Mincey is driven to help the Lady Eagles repeat as Class A soccer state champions.
After scoring four goals and assisting on two others to ignite a 10-1 victory over York Institute in the rain Saturday on Baylor's turf field, the standout forward believes her team is catching fire at the right moment.
"We have played a lot of tough teams and have had some injuries this year that have hurt us record-wise," said Mincey, who had a hat trick in the first 20 minutes. "I think people might be a little doubtful of our skills, but I am not. We are really hot going into state. I think we have a good chance to repeat, and we are going to push as hard as we can."
The Lady Eagles (13-7) have been at peak form this postseason, scoring 39 goals in five matches compared to 41 in 15 regular-season contests.
"When everybody is together, we pass really well," Signal Mountain coach Richard Northcutt said. "We are a passing team, and we have to do our thing really well to win it all. It also helps we have gotten some players back like Kennedy Ethridge and our starting keeper Addison Cross."
Ethridge scored the only goal in last year's state title game against Merrol Hyde and was a dangerous part of the attack in her team's second double-digit scoring performance this season.
Signal Mountain's solid midfield duo of senior Lucy Calhoun and sophomore Lilly Whitney controlled the attack. Both players scored twice, and in each case one of the goals was especially impressive. Calhoun spun at the front of the net to score off a back heel punch to end the match, and Whitney unloaded on a booming shot to the upper right corner of the net in the second half.
"We are ready to win another state title," Calhoun said. "I think we have the mentality to do it. Our school and everyone is kind of looking at us now. We have a target on our back, but it's super exciting."
York finished 7-5-1.
In a Class AA sectional played at Baylor before Signal Mountain's win, East Hamilton's Malia Drumeller took a one-touch strike from 30 yards away and placed it where the keeper could not reach it to provide the difference against Livingston Academy.
Drumeller's score came on an assist from Bailey Kilpatrick on the wing, and the Lady Hurricanes (11-8-2) played stellar defense again. They have only allowed one goal in four postseason matches.
Also Saturday, GPS beat Pope John Paul II 2-1 in a Division II-AA state quarterfinal, Sequatchie County lost 1-0 to Cumberland County in a Class AA sectional and McMinn County lost 5-2 to Siegel in a Class AAA sectional.