A young Science Hill girls’ soccer team that had its troubles finishing chances early in the season and has been depleted by injuries rose to the occasion Thursday with a 2-0 district championship playoff win over regular season champion Tennessee High.
Sophomore Riley Cox and freshman Paige Carlsen, a replacement for injured senior striker Kennah Harris, provided the goals and the defense shut down the region’s best striker, Chloe Arnold.
The team faced Morristown West at home in a regional semifinal Tuesday night after News & Neighbor went to press.
“We’ve had to deal with some adversity … and pulled some girls up from our second team and they’ve done very well,” coach David Strickland said.
The ‘Toppers would play at least two more games if they won Tuesday. They would face either Tennessee High at home or South Doyle on the road, and then play a substate match – at home if they won Thursday, and otherwise on the road.
Cox scored a late match game-winning goal for the second straight contest Thursday. Strickland said Cox, freshman Paige Carlsen and other strikers have benefited from senior midfielder Devin Fry’s ability to get around the other team’s back four and serve balls across the middle.
“That’s really made the difference,” Strickland said of Fry, who was injured early in the year.
The defense is anchored by backs Abby Knox and Alexa Musk and aided by defensive midfielder Gracie Duncan. Should it continue to shine, Strickland believes the young team with its rejuvenated offense can challenge for a state berth.
“We’ve had our times where we’ve missed our chances. Things ebb and flow, and right now we’re sticking our chances away.”