Science Hill girls soccer coach Megan Harmon was looking beyond the scoreboard Saturday.
It showed Christian Academy of Knoxville with a 3-0 victory over the Lady ‘Toppers in the featured match of the Science Hill Invitational at Kermit Tipton Stadium. But Harmon believes the match could pay off in the long run.
“When I created the tournament schedule, I put us with CAK for a reason,” Harmon said. “We might suffer a loss, but going undefeated during the season hasn’t helped us. We don’t consider it a loss if we learn from it, and I believe each individual player can get better and we can get better as a team from this.”
CAK, the No. 1 ranked team in the state’s Class A-AA ranks and a winner of four of the last five A-AA state championships, improved to 11-0-1. Science Hill fell to 8-3-2 with the loss.
Senior forward Laura Morse accounted for two of three CAK goals and she assisted on the other score. She emerged from a cluster in the 35th minute with a short boot that gave the Lady Warriors a 1-0 lead at the intermission.
Then she sent a picture-perfect pass to Addy Cronan in the 58th minute for a 2-0 lead. With Cronan assisting her in the 70th minute, Morse slid between two Science Hill defenders and knocked in the final score.
“They outplayed us and outworked us in every aspect of the game, but we finished three great goals,” CAK head coach Reid Estus said. “Those were great individual efforts. But Science Hill was fired up. They played great and worked hard. The first half, they won the physical battle and the speed battle.”
The numbers verify Estus’ account as Science Hill doubled the Lady Warriors 12-6 in shot attempts. The Lady ‘Toppers weren’t able to take advantage, although Rachel Jones gave CAK an early scare with a shot which bounced off the right goal post. Eight minutes later, she had a straight-on kick which sailed high, hitting the football crossbar above the soccer goal and bouncing over.
In one 86-second stretch, she, Mary Alice Pope and Timbra Delaney all had shot attempts as Science Hill clearly was the aggressor.
Pope and Delaney each ended with three shot attempts, including a pair of shots on goal. Sidney Bailey, Hannah Torbett and Jones all ended with two shots.
“We started off really well, which is something we’ve been working on, coming out of the gates harder,” Harmon said. “We seemed to have a 10-15 minute lull. We still need to work on that, but I’m pleased that we came out hard, better than we normally do.”
It evened out in the second half, which allowed the Lady Warriors to showcase their skills.
The Lady Warriors hit both of their second-half shot attempts, while Morse spaced herself perfectly, passing the ball to teammates. With the job of marking her, defender Rebekah Alison got an up-close look at the offensive star, while Science Hill’s coach believes her team can learn a lot by watching replays of the game.
“We watched film before and it’s very eye-opening,” Harmon said. “You see the job they do with the spacing, and those were things we were doing right yesterday. Film is an awesome teacher and you better believe we will watch this one numerous times.”
Christine Hardin scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Lady Cyclones (6-4-2) to the victory in the match preceeding the Science Hill-CAK match.
Sarah Robinson got Elizabethton on the scoreboard first with an assist by Hardin. Hardin scored the next two goals, the first off a free kick and the second one assisted by Allison Williams. Abby Carey added a final goal as the Lady Cyclones outshot the Lady Tornadoes 15-2.
It was a nice bounce-back for Elizabethton after a tough 2-1 loss to Jefferson County in the morning session. It came despite the Lady Cyclones holding a 12-4 advantage in shot attempts with Robinson scoring the lone goal off an assist by Hardin.
“We played well all weekend. We finally got a result for our efforts,” Elizabethton head coach Bill McClay said. “This has exposed a lot of things we’re weak at by playing this level of competition.”