BY DARREN REESE
ELIZABETHTON - A fast start by the top-seeded Elizabethton girls' soccer team spelled doom for Chuckey-Doak Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Region 1-A/AA Tournament.
The Lady Cyclones got two goals from Christine Hardin in the first three minutes of the game - part of a four-goal effort by the Elizabethton senior - and went on to cruise to a 6-0 victory at Dave Ryder Field.
Elizabethton advances to host No. 2 seed Greeneville Thursday night at 6 p.m. in the region championship game. The two teams tied in their regular season meeting back in September and finished even atop the final standings with identical 6-0-1 marks.
Chuckey-Doak ends the season with a 10-7 overall record. The Lady Knights finished fourth in the final Region 1-A/AA standings.
At the conclusion of Tuesday night's game, C-D head coach Anna Ricker said goodbye to the four players that make up her 2012 senior class - Hannah Riddle, Ashley Anderson, Natasha Blakely and Elizabeth Jimenez.
"No girl has improved more on the field from their first year than Natasha Blakely," Ricker said. "Hannah Riddle, she is just an athlete. She has played every position on the field for us, other than goalkeeper."
"Ashley came in from Germany and played goalkeeper for us the past two years, and she has just been phenomenal. And Elizabeth, she just played this year, but she gets out there and hustles and gives it everything she's got."
"All four of those girls have been wonderful, and they have been great role models for the team. We are definitely going to miss them."
The Lady Knights fell behind early as Hardin got free for a goal in the second minute and then added another just a minute later.
The Chuckey-Doak defense settled in after that, but a goal by sophomore Abbi Carey late in the half made the score 3-0 at the break.
The Lady Knights had a couple of scoring opportunities right before intermission.
Jimenez took the team's first shot-on-goal of the night with just over three minutes left in the half. Less than a minute later, Riddle got open inside the box but collided with the goalie on a loose ball and it was deflected out of bounds.
Elizabethton held a 13-2 advantage in shots-on-goal in the opening 40 minutes.
The possession time was more even in the second half, but the Lady Knights were unable to put together an offensive attack to get back in the game.
One of their best scoring opportunities came on a free kick less than ten minutes into the frame, when Alicia Phillips took a shot from about 23 yards out but sailed it just over the crossbar.
Elizabethton answered with a goal from Hardin in the 52nd minute to make it a 4-0 game.
The Lady Cyclones added two more goals in the final 16 minutes. The first one came when Katie Adams bent a shot in from the left out-of-bounds line. Hardin then capped off her night with a shot from 38 yards out.
"Three of their goals just came on amazing shots," Ricker said. "You have to give credit where credit is due."
"But I was really proud of our girls for not hanging their heads after (Elizabethton) scored those two goals to start the game. Some teams would have quit right there, but we kept fighting till the very end."