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Former LSU standout Carlie Banks, foreground, has provided a major boost to the Chattanooga Lady Red Wolves in their inaugural season. The Lady Red Wolves are 8-1-1 and will host the first round of the WPSL Southeast Conference tournament at David Stanton Field on July 5.

This story was corrected to credit Carlie Banks with seven goals this season at 9:25 p.m. on June 27, 2019

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Chattanooga Lady Red Wolves

With postseason soccer near for the red-hot Chattanooga Lady Red Wolves, a proven leader with ties to the U.S. women's national team has provided a major spark.

Carlie Banks has been a difference maker in the team's inaugural season. With a team-high seven goals, the former LSU standout's attacking ability has helped the Lady Red Wolves become a power in the Women's Premier Soccer League with a record of 8-1-1.

Chattanooga has outscored its competition 25-9 with two road contests left before opening the WPSL's Southeast Conference tournament at David Stanton Field on July 5.

"This team can go as far as we are willing to push ourselves," said Banks, whose team will play Alabama FC at 7 p.m. Friday in Birmingham. "From the very first game, we have been in this together. We really believe in ourselves and have great leaders all over the field. Being one of the older players, I want to set a strong example and come to work every day."

Banks' pedigree speaks for itself.

In 2006 she helped lead Starr's Mill High School in Fayetteville, Georgia, to a state championship with teammate Kelley O'Hara, who is a starting wingback for Team USA. The Americans play France today in the World Cup quarterfinals at 3 p.m. EDT on Fox.

Banks made the All-SEC freshman team in 2009 with seven goals and went on to finish in the top 10 in LSU women's soccer history in assists and appearances.

Now she is trying to help Chattanooga flourish in the game.

"I train a lot of girls around town for Impact Performance Training," Banks said. "I hope to be like those national team players in how they set an example and pave a way for younger girls — maybe inspiring some to be in the same position or higher than I am one day. It's been important to get the word out about the Lady Red Wolves, too, and let people know we are for real."

Since a May 31 road loss to Nashville Rhythm, the Lady Red Wolves have won four straight games and allowed only one score. Goalkeeper Danielle Krzyzaniak has allowed just half a goal per match this season.

Former Soddy-Daisy High School and Lee University standout Summer Lanter and Banks have guided the scoring attack, which also features Hannah Tillett, Caitlin Hayes and Ashleigh Cade.

Center back Jess Shepherd along with Anna Lanter and Brittney Reed have provided strong defense with Hollie Massey distributing the ball well.

"Carlie has set such a great standard for a team that has not had one ounce of drama this season," Lady Red Wolves general manager Gretchen Hammel said. "We have such a great mixture of veterans, college players and even some high school graduates who make for a strong unified combination. These girls have a championship mindset."

A tight-knit group is excited for the road ahead in a thrilling time of the year.

"This is a great time for soccer," Banks said. "We are excited about the U.S. and a couple of our girls are from England, so it's a friendly rivalry as we watch. With the postseason ahead for us, too, it's really going to be a lot of fun."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.

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