CHATTANOOGA — The Chattanooga Christian Lady Chargers came into their Class A/AA soccer state quarterfinal against Elizabethton believing they needed to take advantage of every possible opportunity.
The starters and primary reserves did just that Wednesday, and then the other reserves followed suit.
Fourth-ranked CCS advanced to today’s semifinals with a 5-0 victory over the Lady Cyclones.
“I trusted that we were going to bring it today,” said Ashley Simmons, who scored one of the goals. “We made every opportunity count and got it done early.”
Hannah Henry had a goal and an assist. Her pressure on Elizabethton goalkeeper Reazyn DeMoss led to the game’s first goal, scored by Savanna Cingilli.
The Lady Chargers (15-4-4) continued the pressure, which also led to the fourth goal, knocked in by the E lizabethton defense.
In the game’s final minutes, Annie Reynolds, who plays defense on the junior varsity, rifled a shot from about 25 yards past backup Elizabethton keeper Kaitlyn Puckett.
It was a complete team effort. The Lady Chargers finished with only four fouls, and they limited the opportunities of the Elizabethton offense and star forward Christine Hardin, who finished her career with 127 goals and also is the place-kicker on the Cyclones football team. She had 41 goals for the season which tied a school record.
Hardin had a couple of opportunities late, but the Lady Chargers defense stiffened when necessary.
“We played well, and we defended well,” CCS coach Cal Sneller said. “The first win is always hard, because with the tournament being here on our campus, and with the big student body and family being in attendance, there might’ve been nerves.
“It’s always good to advance; the first win is crucial.”
Elizabethton, which made the state tournament for the first time, finished at 13-7-2.
“We didn’t play our best, not to take anything away from them,” Elizabethton coach Bill McClay said. “The first two goals were ones that other days we were able to stop. We were a little tenative. I don’t know if it was the weight of the situation or what. But, they played hard to the end and everyone got experience in the state tournament.
“It was a disappointing loss, but a very good season, a milestone for the girls’ program.”