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Lady Warriors
Christian Academy of Knoxville

Christian Academy of Knoxville’s girls soccer team has some lofty expectations for the 2011 season.

The Lady Warriors, who won back-to-back Class A/AA State Championships in 2008 and 2009 before falling to Notre Dame in the State Championship game last season, are again eyeing a State berth.

“Our seniors have played in three State Championship matches and our goal is to get them to a fourth,” CAK third-year coach Ried Estus said. “Sometimes, you have the talent to compete for and some years, you don’t.

“I think we’ll compete this year but we’re not the only team that’s blessed with talent.”

To say that the Lady Warriors will be competitive is perhaps the understatement of the preseason.

CAK has all the ingredients to win it all in 2011.

“This is the most talented team that I’ve had at CAK,” Estus said. “I’m returning eight starters from last year and some of those girls may not start every game, but they will play. I have 16, 17, or 18 players competing for positions.

“We’ll not only compete in our district but we’ll be able to compete with some other teams. We can play with Farragut, Bearden, West and the other teams on our schedule. And when you schedule teams like that, it’s nice to know that you can play with them.”

The Lady Warriors will have an early opportunity to see just how competitive they can be. CAK opens the 2011 campaign at home against Sevier County on Aug. 23. Then, the Lady Warriors will head to Bearden to play in the Bearden Invitational. They will play the host Bulldogs in the tournament opener for both schools on Aug. 31.

“That is a great tournament and [Bearden coach] Eric [Turner] does a great job getting some good teams.”

Expectations at CAK are high as always as the Lady Warriors are both deep and talented in every aspect of the game.

Top returners include: Paige Hoffman (senior, midfielder and captain); Kiah Allen (senior, forward and captain); Elizabeth Key (senior, midfielder); Emily Denton (senior, defender); Abby Schoutko (senior, midfielder); Hayla Stone (senior, defender); Laura Foster (junior, defender) and Tessa Piety (a junior defender, who returns after suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2010).

Hoffman and Foster both received all-state honors last season. And Estus has plenty of praise for his other top returners.

“Hayla is silky smooth and she’s a four-year starter at CAK. Laura has exceptional speed and she is a tenacious defender. Emily is a tremendous player. She can play anywhere,” Estus said. “Tessa missed last year because she tore her ACL but she’s as tough as nails.”

CAK picked up a transfer during the offseason as senior forward Sara Dillon joins the Lady Warriors after playing at McMinn County for the last three seasons.

“She’s a goal-scoring machine,” Estus said. “She’s a natural goal scorer and she’s been a real gift. Her family moved to Knoxville from McMinn County.

“I’ve been blessed. When you can get a player like her, who wouldn’t want that?”

Estus said his squad’s strengths lie in speed and depth.

“We have exceptional speed and we’re very deep,” he said. “I have no less than six or seven players competing at every position. We also have some great senior leadership.”

Estus is looking to make another State Title run and Hoffman is also prepared for another long postseason stay.

“We have some tough competition,” Hoffman said. “But we only lost three seniors last year so we have the same potential.

“Our job as seniors is to try to keep this team as close and as unified as we can and pass what we know along to the younger players. This is my senior year and I want to win another championship.”


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