KNOXVILLE — Two wins from a Division II-AA state crown in its first year playing on the biggest private level statewide, Knoxville Catholic girls soccer is preparing for a trip to Murfreesboro.
The Irish (12-7) will face Briarcrest (15-1-1) in one state semifinal beginning at 5:30 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Nov. 7 (the state tournament has been pushed back one week due to soggy field conditions following heavy rain).
State championship game begins at 7:30 p.m. EDT, Friday, Nov. 8.
For Bearden and Christian Academy of Knoxville, however, the ride ended at substate.
Ryan Radcliffe’s Lady Bulldogs (17-4-1) fell 2-0 at Maryville (17-3-3) last Saturday, Oct. 26, in a Class AAA substate showdown.
Meanwhile, Ried Estus had a bitter-sweet afternoon last Saturday.
The sweet: the Christian Academy of Knoxville’s girls soccer head coach saw his team put up a valiant effort.
The bitter: The Lady Warriors came up barely short in a 3-2 overtime decision against Battle Ground Academy in the State VIII round of the Division II-A playoffs at CAK.
“I’m not disappointed with the result because it was a good game and they made a perfect cross and a perfect header to win the game,” Estus said. “What I’m disappointed about is that I don’t get to coach this group of seniors again.”
The Lady Wildcats (16-4) got the eventual game-winning goal when Keaton Mitchell tallied in the second minute of extra time.
The Lady Warriors (15-4-1) scored first when Brooke Forrester tallied in the third minute of the match.
CAK senior defender Mackenna Mozingo came through late, scoring the equalizer to make it 2-2 in the 75th minute.
The Lady Warriors got stellar goalkeeping from junior Anna Nichols, who made six saves to keep BGA off the scoreboard in the first half.
“It was just an honor to play on this team with these teammates,” she said. “We really grew together ... didn’t have any superstars.”
Mozingo’s tally would send the game to overtime, where BGA scored early in the two-half extra session.
CAK missed a chance to send the game to penalty kicks but Forrester hit the top of the net with a shot in the 95th minute of the game.
Battle Ground Academy coach Jan B. Morrisey commended her banged up squad’s effort and also lauded the Lady Warriors for their work on this day.
“We’re literally limping to the end,” Morrisey said. “Our kids played hard and they stayed after it. I’m really proud of them because they came in here.
“They had to go on the road and play a big program and a big school. I’m really proud of CAK. I’m proud of both teams, really. We appreciate the good competition that we got from them. (Estus) has done a good job and I know that we will see them again in the future.”
Nichols faced 16 shots and made 13 saves and she received praise from her coach.
“Anna did a great job today and she made some big saves,” Estus said. “She’s kept us in games when we didn’t deserve to be in them.”
Nichols said that the Lady Warriors had a successful season.