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Lady Hawks rally, tie KCHS

Hardin Valley Academy girls soccer head coach Mike McLean felt fortunate to escape Knoxville Catholic High School's Blaine Stadium with a 2-2 draw Thursday, Aug. 25.

I'll take the blame for the first half, McLean said. I switched the formation and the girls weren't really comfortable in it and they just didn't have the confidence.

While the Lady Hawks (1-0-1), playing in a 4-3-3 formation, stumbled through the opening half the Lady Irish, playing in their first match of the 2011 season, came out firing and opened a 2-0 lead before halftime.

Senior Reece McKenzie gave Catholic a 1-0 lead with a breakaway goal in the 20th minute.

We came out really well early, said McKenzie, who has been one of Knox County's most prolific goal scorers over the past four seasons.

The Lady Irish extended their lead to 2-0 in the 29th minute when sophomore Molly Dwyer found the back of the net.

However, We missed a lot of opportunities in the first half, said KCHS head coach Mark Leader, who led Catholic to the Class AAA state semifinals in 2010. We had some one-on-one chances against their keeper and we missed them. Hardin Valley is a great team and this team is a good lesson for us. We have four games against strong teams coming up.

In addition to the date with the Lady Admirals, Catholic has three other games in the Bearden Invitational this week. Tournament play concludes Sunday, Sept. 2, at Bearden's Bruce Allender Field.

The Lady Irish dominated the Lady Hawks in the first half, but after the break, it was a different story as Hardin Valley gradually chipped away and eventually wrestled momentum in a big early season non-conference match.

McKenzie noted that momentum changed after halftime and while she wasn't making excuses, she did admit the Lady Irish were missing one of their top midfielders, sophomore Brenna Zimmerman, who missed Cath-olic's opener.

We need to work on our conditioning, said McKenzie, who led Catholic with 20 markers last season. We had a lot of players go down with cramps. ... We were without Brenna Zimmerman and she's one of our best midfielders and one of our best possession players.

After halftime, McLean switched to the more traditional 4-4-2 formation.

We're happy with the tie, said Hardin Valley junior forward/midfielder Emily Smith, who helped the Lady Hawks salvage the draw by scoring the game-tying goal in the 73rd minute. We came out in the 4-3-3 and then we switched to the 4-4-2 and we were more confident and comfortable.

At halftime he [McLean] told us that we needed to put the first half behind us and when you're down 2-0 at halftime, your goal is to come out and get the tie.

The Lady Hawks cut their deficit in half when Ellie Myrick scored in the 58th minute.


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