Resilient CFCW Side Edges Nashville Rhythm FC

On Sunday, June 3rd, the Chattanooga FC Women returned to action at Finley Stadium to face conference opponent, Nashville Rhythm FC Women. After conceding early in the match, the CFC Women battled back to steal the match and earn three points. Ten minutes in, Nashville Rhythm’s Julie Garst (#2) cut onto her right foot and crushed the ball into the top corner of the net to give the early advantage to the Rhythm FC Women. Twenty-eight minutes elapsed before Lizzy Shaughnessy (#17) crossed the ball from the right flank and found Carlie Banks (#11). Banks headed the ball past the keeper to level the score. In the 79th minute, Mia Hollingsworth’s (#19) fresh set of legs provided the CFC Women with the go-ahead, game-winning goal.

The Rhythm FC Women appeared to have the upper hand early on in the match. Garst’s goal in the 10th minute set the CFC Women back a bit, and they were forced to endure a relentless Rhythm attack for the next half-hour of the match. In addition to the early goal, the Rhythm FC Women enjoyed getting into dangerous areas fairly consistently. After the quick goal, the CFC Women did well to withstand the rest of the Rhythm’s first half attack.

The tide turned in the 38th minute when Shaughnessy (#17) played a lofted ball to the back post where Banks (#11) made a run. A slightly mistimed punch from the Rhythm FC goalkeeper left an open net for Banks to head the ball into, and she did just that, leveling the score at one apiece. The CFC Women closed out the last 7 minutes of the half in control, earning two corner kicks and a pair of free kicks. Despite those set piece opportunities, the two clubs went into halftime knotted up at 1-1.

The CFC Women picked up right where they left off, controlling the majority of the possession and chances early on in the second half. Sam Debien (#8), Summer Lanter (#14), and Brooke Pirkle (#16) all were able to get shots off in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but none were on target.

In the 79th minute, Hollingsworth (#19) added to the tally with a solo goal for the CFC Women. Hollingsworth found her way through three Rhythm defenders and placed the ball low and to the far post, just out of the reach of the goalkeeper, giving the CFC Women their first lead of the match.

The Rhythm FC Women had two good chances in the second half. In the 71st minute, Anna Lanter went in for a mistimed tackled and was shown a yellow card. The ensuing free kick taken from the top of the 18-yard box was saved by C. Morché (#0). In the 86th minute, the Rhythm FC Women had their best opportunity. A Rhythm cross ran in front of the face of the goal, and was struck well by the attacker at the edge of the 6-yard box. Brittney Reed (#27) threw herself in front of the shot and blocked it, ultimately sealing the CFC Women’s win.

Reed (#27), Caitlin Hayes (#5), Jozy Morché (#2), Carsen Parker (#18), Shaugnessy (#17), A. Lanter (#4), and C. Morché (0) all deserve credit in locking down the backline after the lone Rhythm FC goal. Furthermore, the CFC Women defended well as a whole, making the Rhythm’s attack bearable.

Again, CFC Women’s bench played a significant role in elevating the level. Shaughnessy’s (#17) assist off the bench and Hollingsworth’s (#19) game-winning goal proved that. Katelyn Newsome (#13) and Jess Shepherd (#3) also played some important minutes.

Reflecting on her game-winning goal, Hollingsworth said: “The goal happened because it was what I worked on in training on Saturday. It was very exciting to see that specific work translate on the field. I managed to break through three of the defenders and place the shot back post.” Hollingsworth also had some words to say about the CFC Women moving forward. “I think confidence plays a huge role in a team’s success, and that’s what this win gave us. All of us mesh well, not only as soccer players, but also as people. Our goal is to continue building team unity on and off the field. With the wide variety of talent and character this team has, I have the feeling of a successful season ahead.”

The CFC Women’s win over the Rhythm FC moves them to the top of the WPSL’s Southeast Conference table with 6 points. The Emerald Force FC Women have also collected 6 points, but it has taken them three matches to do so, whereas the CFC Women have earned their 6 points in two matches. The Chattanooga FC Women will return to action on June 9th. They will travel to Peachtree City, GA for a matchup against Peachtree City MOBA. Kickoff is scheduled for 7PM EST.

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