published Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Notre Dame sails into A/AA state soccer quarterfinal

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Courtney Boyd never thought she'd score a goal in a state tournament game. Notre Dame teammate Austin Nelson had only hoped she'd get the chance to score once — let alone twice.

The Lady Irish dominated Liberty out of Jackson in the A/AA state soccer quarterfinal Wednesday, defeating the Lady Crusaders 5-0 to advance to the state semifinals today at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro. Notre Dame (13-6-4) will face Knoxville Catholic, an 8-0 winner over Fairview in their quarterfinal match.

There is a chance of tornadoes coming through Middle Tennessee this morning, in which case the matches will be pushed back to Friday.

Nelson had goals in the 9th and 47th minutes, assisted by Sofia Olenchek and Mackenzie Nadeau.

"We're excited to get to the next step of the tournament," Nelson said. "We knew we could do it if we worked on it, but we're going to need to step up and play hard in our next match. We've already played Catholic, but we think we have a good chance to win."

Knoxville Catholic defeated Notre Dame 2-1 in the Bearden Tournament on Sept. 1.

Emma Higgins pushed the Lady Irish's lead to 2-0 in the 19th minute. A minute later, a penalty-kick after a Liberty defender was whistled for a handball in the box on a corner kick led to Boyd -- a defender -- getting an opportunity to score, which she did.

Hannah Dearing finished the scoring in the 49th minute on Olenchek's second assist.

"Today was a good win," Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn said. "We did our job and get to move on; Liberty was an unknown to us, so I was a little nervous and the team was a little nervous at the beginning. But we settled down shortly after, and nobody got hurt."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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