The Cherokee Bluff girls completely dominated Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament Tuesday evening, riding a hat trick from Kaitlin Cook to a 6-0 win at home. Cook scored a pair of goals in the first half and added a third early in the second to complete the accomplishment. The Lady Bears also got a pair of scores from Anna Gessner and one from Eva Martin in the wire-to-wire victory.
With the win, the Lady Bears will travel to take on Westminster in the second round of state playoffs next Monday.
“The team played great as a whole,” Cherokee Bluff coach Calvin Cook said after the game. “All three units, forwards, defenders and midfielders played great, played as one unit. … It was a very clean day. It was a good result all-in-all.”
The Lady Bears maintained possession of the ball on the Lady Warriors side of the field for the large majority of the game, and while they had several shot attempts on frame early in the game, it took nearly the entire first half for Cherokee Bluff to finally break through with a goal.
Gessner put the Lady Bears on the scoreboard first about 17 minutes into the game by scoring from right in front of the net off a corner. Cook added to the lead about eight minutes later when she converted into the left side of the net following a pass from Martin into the middle of the box. Cook remained near the ball, earning a penalty kick while streaking through the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe box just two minutes after her first goal. Gessner took the penalty shot, and easily converted to get the score to 3-0 before halftime.
Cherokee Bluff kept up the heat early in the second half, getting another goal from Cook less than two minutes in after she beat her defender inside the box and scored from short range.
Martin made it 5-0 with a goal from the top left side of the box just eight minutes into the second half, and Cook completed her hat trick with another goal from in close with about 30 minutes left to play.
With Tuesday’s win now behind it, Cook said the team will turn its full attention to Westminster and continuing to advance in the Class 3A tournament.
“They're not going to give it to us,” he said. “If we want to win, if we want to come out on top, we have to give it 100%.”