For 49 seconds, the Chattanooga Christian girls' soccer team got to play with a lead against rival Notre Dame in Thursday night's District 7-A/AA matchup.
The visiting Lady Irish then responded to Ellie Vannoy's second-half goal with one from MacKenzie Nadeau, and neither team could manage another score in the final 10:28. Fortunately for CCS, the 1-1 tie was enough to clinch the district's No. 1 seeding and earn home-field advantage for the upcoming postseason tournament.
"That was frustrating," Lady Chargers coach Cal Sneller said of the huge momentum swing his team experienced in a span of less than a minute Tuesday night. "It was emotional, and you saw heads drop everywhere. But we came back and had a couple more opportunities. I think we're starting to figure out what makes us dangerous."
Chattanooga Christian, now 9-2-3 overall and 3-0-1 in district play, has struggled with injuries throughout the season, but is slowly working some of those players back into the lineup. Against Notre Dame, the Lady Chargers controlled much of the play for the first 30 minutes and had several dangerous scoring chances, but the Lady Irish took charge of the final 10 minutes of the period.
"We're slowly getting our players back, but it takes a while to figure out how everything fits together," Sneller said. "We've been missing key players for too much of the season."
"I thought we were excellent for most of the first half. We were occupying space very well. Then, I don't know what happened. We started getting frantic, and there's no need for us to play that way."
The second half was mostly a physical, back-and-forth battle, but with 11:17 remaining on the clock, Vannoy took a ball from Beata Brock, worked her way past her defender, and angled the ball inside the far post. The Lady Chargers barely had time to celebrate, though, because less than a minute later, Notre Dame's Erin Freeman played Nadeau's corner back to her, and Nadeau sent a high, hard shot to the far corner for the equalizer.
"I think we did a great job responding," Lady Irish coach Jim Schermerhorn said. "There wasn't a letup. We kept playing."
"I told them at halftime that we hadn't played that well in the first half but we still kept it 0-0. In the second half, the effort was good and the work rate was good, but we still struggled with possession."
Notre Dame (8-1-5, 2-0-2) knew that it needed a win against CCS to take over first place in the district, while the Chargers only needed a tie, and CCS keeper Ellen Stone collected enough stops the rest of the way to preserve it.
"The seeding is all set now, and that's what this was all about," Sneller said.
(E-mail Jaime Barrett at email@example.com