Win or lose so far this season, the Hixson girls' soccer team has learned one thing: They can be noisy.
To their credit, however, they've been doing some winning.
The Lady Wildcats ran roughshod through District 6-A/AA, earning the top seed heading into the district tournament with a spotless 5-0 record. They still have a league match against Howard, as well as matches with the Chattanooga Patriots, Marion County and Sweetwater, but their 5-4-2 overall record has been sparked by the play of senior forward/midfielder Kaley Swann and sophomore forward Samantha Green.
Both said the players felt they had the chance to be good, but performances against some area private schools really sparked the expectations.
"We've been having a pretty good year," Swann said. "We worked so hard in the summer, and it's shown. We know we can do well. We've had our ups and downs, but there were times his year where I was like, 'Hey, we can do this.'"
Green is one of the area's top scorers with 19 goals. She said the team's communications skills have been a huge positive -- but sometimes an impediment, as their continual chatter off the field sometimes gets them in trouble in practice.
"When we talk to each other during the game, we feel more as a team," Green said. "Silence makes me nervous during matches. If I don't hear girls talking about the game in the hallways or before the game, I don't think we're ready."
The Lady Wildcats fared well against opponents such as Chattanooga Christian, Grace Academy and Baylor, and although those matches ended as losses, coach Jeff Dean is quick to point out the positives from each. He's also pleased to see the Lady Wildcats claim the top seed heading into the district tournament, which would put them in a position to advance to their first region tournament since 2004.
"We have some good pieces in place, starting with Samantha and Kaley," Dean said. "Samantha's a finisher and Kaley's the leader who's in everyone's face encouraging. We've had some tough losses, but I tell the girls that I don't care how much we lose because the regular season is basically like preseason because everybody qualifies.
"I'm excited about winning the district; it's a good accomplishment for us."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.
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