Big night for CPA soccer, volleyball teams

Friday, October 23, 2009 at 1:09am

Finding easy walking distance between two games, fans of Christ Presbyterian Academy fully got their money’s worth from their sports teams Thursday night.

From the space face painted students with capes who raced over from soccer to volleyball, to more reserved adults, the Lions gave their supporters plenty to cheer about.

The Lion girls soccer team blew out to a 3-0 halftime lead, then rolled to a 5-1 victory over David Lipscomb to win the District 9-A/AA championship, their first since 1999.

They finished just 20 minutes before CPA’s volleyball team qualified for its second straight state tournament by finishing off Harpeth (25-23, 25-22, 25-21) in the Class AA sectionals in just over an hour.

Seniors Anna Mitchell and Anna Bliss Eberle controlled the net and the Lions fought past a scrappy Harpeth team. The Lions (32-5) play their opening state tourney game Wednesday at MTSU.

“We wanted to come out and take command early after last week in region when we lost two straight games to Goodpasture and had to fight back to win three straight,’’ said the 5'-11" Mitchell.

“Our motto from the start has been ‘Don’t Fear, Have Faith,’ and that’s how we’ve been playing,’’ Mitchell said. “As a senior, it feels great to get back to state where we’re one of the top eight in state. All the players on this team love each other, we’re so together.’’

After Harpeth had rallied to tie the first game at 23-23, Eberle pounded down a spike for a 24-23 lead, then a misplay at the net closed it out. The Lions then fought off challenges by the Indians in the next two games.

“That’s my strength, my net play,’’ said the 5-11 Eberle. “I’m so excited for our team and our school that we’ve gotten back to state. “It’s a little bit surreal.’’

“It’s a great stepping stone for our program, getting to our second straight state tournament,’’ said Coach Pat Perry. “We passed well, we gained control of the net, and our three seniors were all outstanding.’’

In soccer, Junior Alyssa Curtis, the tournament offensive MVP, scored two goals, and Victoria Anderson and Chelsea Parris added goals as CPA (16-2) toppled Lipscomb in the district finals. The five-goal output proved plenty enough to back up goalkeeper Grace Hooper, who just missed her 10th shutout, allowing only a penalty kick for a score with just five minutes left.

Anderson, the regular season MVP, booted a 30-foot shot into the upper left corner for a quick 1-0 lead, then Curtis scored on a breakaway with 3½ minutes left, lifting CPA to a 3-0 halftime lead.

“We’ve steadily improved each match,’’ said Coach Brandy Gagliano. “We’re very excited to have won district for the first time since 1999, we played a very complete game. Grace has had a shutout nearly every game, and our defense was outstanding.’’

CPA will host a semifinal region game on Tuesday, and a win there would enable the Lions to play at home in the finals Thursday. CPA will play at home all week through sectionals as long as it keeps winning.

Volleyball sectionals

Father Ryan will host Chattanooga GPS in a DII-AA Sectional match Saturday at 2 p.m. The Irish have been in the state finals three straight years, winning in ’06 and finishing runner-up the past two seasons. Also in DII-AA, Ensworth visits Briarcrest at 6 p.m. Saturday.

In DII-A Sectionals Saturday night, Harding Academy visits DCA, and Ezell-Harding goes to Evangelical Christian, with those winners headed to state. The state tournament will be held Oct. 28-30 at MTSU and at Blackman High in all divisions.