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CAK girls recapture glory

CHATTANOOGA — Three first-half goals did the trick Saturday, earning Christian Academy of Knoxville girls soccer its third Class A/AA state title in four years.

However, it took the Lady Warriors (24-1-1) a year to transform into championship mode without three former stars.

“This year we just had one more year to understand that we can play without Mary [Thompson], Brittany [Hoffman] and Ruthie [Edmonds],” said senior All-state forward Kiah Allen, who scored twice in a 3-1 CAK state title win Nov. 5 against Christ Presbyterian Academy (12-6-4) at Girls Preparatory School.

“Two years ago those three graduated, and it left us devastated,” Allen added. “When they left, we had to change our entire offense. This year we finally understood it, and it worked.”

CAK head coach Ried Estus, whose team led 12-3 in shots-on-goal, said about the first half, “we executed really nice. We didn’t waste any possessions. ... We usually finished with a good shot-on-goal.”

Paige Hoffman, senior All-state midfielder, put CAK up 1-0 on a laser beam free kick from about 22 yards out, beating CPA’s goalkeeper in the upper right part of the net with 28:10 left before halftime.

A state crown resulted from “lots and lots of hard work, team bonding, and just playing for each other and playing for the Lord,” Hoffman said.

Allen made it 2-0, tapping in a Laura Foster shot rebounding off the CPA goalkeeper’s chest, at the 23:55 mark. About 13 minutes later, Allen headed home a diagonal pass roughly 30 yards out from Foster.

“We knew if we came out strong then they wouldn’t have a chance,” Allen said.

The Lady Warriors held CPA to almost no offensive surges in the first half. “Anything they could mount we broke it up pretty quickly,” Estus said.

CAK senior defender Hayla Stone said, “Our defense has been playing together for three years now. We all work really well together ... we do a really good job of communicating.”

Senior defender Tessa Piety said one key was “digging deep” during the early portion of the season, “no matter who we played,” adding the team overcame “a lot of injuries at the beginning of the year.”

Two Sara Dillon goals led CAK to a 3-1 quarterfinal win versus Hume-Fogg (13-7-1) Wednesday, Nov. 2.

A 3-1 semifinal victory against Chattanooga Christian (19-4-2) Nov. 3 was fueled by two Allen goals and one from Dillon.


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