Central Magnet's soccer team defeated Knoxville Central 2-0 in its first-ever appearance in the Class 2A TSSAA state soccer tournament on Wednesday at Siegel Rotary Park.
The Tigers were aggressivethe entire game, racking up 28 shots to Knoxville Central’s eight. The constant pressure put on the Bobcats’ goalkeeper Ashton Blair eventually gave way to Tiger goals by Jenny Peters and Ella Chesney.
“The biggest thing we were trying to look at was not force crosses into their keeper,” Central Magnet coach Ray Bennett said. “She’s very strong, did a very good job. So, the idea was try and get runs coming from deeper and not just right at her.”
Roughly 16 minutes into the game, the Tigers got on the scoreboard. With the help from midfielder Ashleigh Clark, senior forward Jenny Peters received a cross and beat Blair.
“She did a 40-yard run to get into spot and get that goal,” Bennett said. “She’ll be fine tomorrow.”
Blair had her work cut out for her in the second half. The Lady Tigers got eight shots on goal in the game’s final 40 minutes and Blair was able to save seven of them. The one miss, however, was Chesney’s goal that sealed Central Magnet’s win. Chesney got a through ball from Brooke Dungan, faked a goal kick and got the ball into an empty net.
Central Magnet was the more aggressive team throughout. Chesney had more shots by herself, 13, than Knoxville Central did as a team. The Tigers also had more shots on goal and corner kicks than the Bobcats. All told, it added up to Central Magnet advancing to its first ever state semifinal game.
“I thought they were very calm,” Bennett said. “I didn’t see any nerves or anxiety that you worry about. I think there was a lot of confidence going into this. It was nice that we were kind of on home field here.
"I thought the girls felt some comfort there. We had some girls in the travel season win some state tournaments on these fields. And that familiarity, that challenge was already there for them. It was almost like they were going at it trying to do it again as opposed to brand new to it.”