Sophomore standout Caroline Betts was the difference maker on offense for Christ Presbyterian Academy, while junior goalkeeper Mary Carter Logan stopped everything that came her way Thursday in the Division II-A Middle Region soccer semifinals in Franklin.
The undefeated Lady Lions, the DII-A District 3 champs, claimed a 3-0 win against Battle Ground Academy to advance to Saturday’s championship and improved to 15-0 overall. CPA will face University School of Nashville for the title after the Lady Tigers edged Grace Christian Academy 2-1 in the earlier semifinal.
Soccer Photo Gallery – Division II-A Middle Region Semifinals at BGA
The University School of Nashville and Christ Presbyterian Academy girls soccer teams earned wins in the Division II-A Middle Region semifinals on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 in Franklin at Battle Ground Academy. USN topped Grace Christian Academy 2-1, while CPA tipped BGA 3-0.
“This is a district rivalry for us, kind of like an Auburn versus Alabama thing, so we know they’re going to bring everything when they face us,” CPA coach Tom Gerlach said of the matchup with BGA. “The score doesn’t dictate how close the game was played, because it was a lot closer than the score.
“Fortunately, we are blessed to have No. 11 because she can do some pretty amazing things.”
Betts scored in the 23rd, 39th and 64th.
Her first tally came after having her shot blocked before firing the rebound to the upper left of the goal. Her second goal was a back-breaker when she streaked past three defenders down the left sideline before switching from the left to right foot on a crossover at the corner of the box to bury a shot for a 2-0 lead with just seven seconds to play in the half.
“They’re really good and being marked by really good defenders makes me have to depend on my teammates even more,” the humble Betts said, quick to credit her team. “BGA is a good, clean team and it’s just so fun playing them because we get fired up as a team and it’s great to play such good competition.
“This rivalry has formed over the past two years and I always look forward to facing them.”
BGA coach Jan Morrissey enjoys the competition, too, but wouldn’t mind seeing how her team matches up – at least for an instant – without trying to slow the talented Betts on top. The sophomore has scored 44 of CPA’s 84 goals this season.
“Caroline, is well, she’s just impressive,” said Morrissey, who’s team fell 3-1 in the regular season. “We didn’t really have an answer for her. She’s a game changer.
“I thought we had chances, but just didn’t really take advantage.”
The Lady Wildcats pressured the CPA defense all night, but couldn’t convert on several great opportunities. Kennedy Price had a couple long tries in the first half and was stopped on a one-on-one move against Logan in front of the goal in the 59th.
“She (Price) got the ball and passed our last defender down the side and I could tell she was either going to go to my right or straight at me, so I just cut her off and she hit right to me,” said Logan, who had at least four highlight reel saves in the shutout.
Logan snagged a high corner in the 21st and followed that up by saving a shot from Keaton Mitchell in the 22nd, setting up Betts and CPA’s counter attack and the first goal. The shutout was the 11th this season for the Lady Lions, who have allowed just four goals.
Betts tacked on her third goal in the 64th when she tracked down a long ball for a one-on-one breakaway against BGA keeper Paige Shea. Shea dove to her left on the right-footed shot and the ball grazed her fingertips but still found the back of the net.
The super sophomore said facing USN Saturday will be a challenge since the two teams haven’t met on the field this season.
“That’s always fun going in not really knowing what it’ll be like, though,” Betts said. “I’m excited for that and it should be a really good matchup.”
The Lady Wildcats will face GCA in the early match Saturday at BGA for third place at 10 a.m. Savannah Phillips scored the lone goal for GCA, which gave up two long free kicks in the contest, including the 1-1 tie-breaker in the 61st.
“We’ve played well recently, and USN is a great team so I don’t want to take anything away from them, but I think we have some better soccer in us,” GCA coach Brett Armstrong said.
Senior Gabby Jones produced three shots on goal in the second half and left a ball for Mary Bradley Myers with under 30 seconds to play for a potential equalizer, but Myers didn't get a good touch as USN covered up the shot in the box to seal the win.
The GCA girls claimed a 4-2 win in the regular season against BGA, but the lady Wildcats were without senior Scout Speer in the contest.
“It’ll be a different kind of game, I think,” Morrissey said. “We have to stay positive because there’s still more to come.”
Division II-A All-District 3
Caroline Betts, CPA, MVP; Mary Carter Logan, CPA; Caroline Avinger, CPA; Sylvie Keck, CPA; Gabby Jones, GCA; Emerson Smith, GCA; Carlie Mason, GCA; Kennedy Price, BGA; Keaton Mitchell, BGA; Kaylen Stamatis, Columbia Academy; Bryn Powell, Columbia Academy; Grace Gills, FRA; Morgan Simmons, PCA; Jayce Wilkerson, MTCS; River Abshere, ZCA.
Division II-A All-District 4
Gemma Jefferson, USN, MVP; Evy Daunic, USN; Raine Jones, USN; Dabney Moore, USN; Jayla Barksdale, Goodpasture; Hannah Clark, Goodpasture; Emma Webster, Goodpasture; Macy Chapman, NCS; Emily Campos, NCS; Reagan Smiley, DCA; Anna Shrum, DCA; Brylie Sykes, Clarksville Academy; Chloe Jacobs, Davidson Academy; Amelia Lyons, MJCA; Khia Young, FCS.