NASHVILLE – It took less than 30 seconds for Christ Presbyterian Academy’s Caroline Betts to put her mark on Thursday’s Division II-A Middle Region semifinal.
The problem for Grace Christian Academy: Betts played 55 minutes. The junior scored five goals – including the match’s first two tallies in a span of 26 seconds in the 14th minute – Thursday to lead CPA past GCA and into the region championship game this weekend against Battle Ground Academy.
“I think we had a lot space to work with in the midfield and everyone did a great job of distributing the ball,” Betts said. “It was just great to be able to find the back of the net.”
The Lady Lions, who had a shot at a perfect season spoiled last year with a championship loss to BGA, will battle the Lady Wildcats, again, for the region title Saturday. The winner will not only clinch the region championship, but will earn a first-round bye next week as the state tournament kicks off.
CPA senior Sylvie Keck, whose return to the lineup Thursday boosted the back line for the Lady Lions, said last year’s title loss still resonates deeply within the team. Thursday’s win was just another step toward the end goal, she said.
“We always talk about it. We can win it,” Keck said. “We have to come out every single game like this and fight like it’s our last one because it definitely could be.
“We’re going to keep working hard.”
CPA slipped past GCA 3-2 in the regular season and endured a strong start from the visitors early. GCA picked up a couple looks on goal in the first 10 minutes and battled before Betts found pay dirt – twice.
Betts opened the scoring by swiping a ball at the top of the box and launching a quick shot toward the upper right of the goal with her left foot. Twenty-six seconds later, Keck and Mary Wood stopped a GCA attack and Betts tracked down a long ball down the right side and converted another high shot toward the left post.
After a strong start, GCA fell into a 2-0 hole to thwart any potential momentum.
“We have been playing a lot of high pressure out of the back, so we don’t want to just kick it, we want to possess it,” CPA coach Tom Gerlach said. “The back line did really, really well there and we were able to shift some things around and exploited some gaps they had.”
Betts scored again in the 19th and blasted a rocket from the top of the box in the 35th as CPA led 4-0 at the break. The home team out-shot GCA 14-3 in the first 40 minutes.
GCA came out of the break refocused with Mary Bradley Myers and Caroline Briley pushing possession, but CPA clamped down defensively. Keck seemed to challenge everything before it even reached senior keeper Mary Carter Logan and the home team pushed right back onto the offensive.
In the 52nd, CPA struck again with a tally from Caroline Moore. Moore then sent a ball to Betts down the left side less than two minutes later and the standout junior tight-roped the sideline and worked past a defender to find a seam for her fifth goal and a 6-0 lead.
The junior exited the contest shortly afterward as CPA stayed in cruise control over the final 25 minutes.
“We just have to stay motivated,” Betts said. “I know these girls all really want it in the end and we all love working hard for one another.
“We’re all willing to work and keep this momentum going.”
CPA won the championship rematch with BGA in the regular season 4-0 on Sept. 10.
FRANKLIN – Keaton Mitchell poured in five goals and the Battle Ground Academy girls soccer t…
Battle Ground Academy 2, University School of Nashville 0
The Lady Wildcats attacked early and often at USN, but only managed to put away one goal in the first half.
Kennedy Price finished a long feed from Keaton Mitchell in the 17th for BGA. It stayed 1-0 until the 74th when Mitchell converted her own tally for the 2-0 final.
Graci Semptimphelter started again in goal and made a couple saves for the Lady Wildcats. The junior was injured and missed the beginning of the season, including BGA’s loss at CPA last month.
Thursday’s region final will be played at 6 p.m. at CPA. USN will face GCA in the consolation contest.