CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Catholic girls soccer Coach Amy Mullen stepped into a situation that saw the Irish lose Player of the Year Emily Blake to graduation.
Then, she had to rely on five freshman starters.
Mullen knew she had a lot of talent on the Irish team, but even the first-year coach couldn't have imagined Catholic would be in its current position - two wins from a state championship.
Catholic (15-5-2) opens the State Tournament at 4:30 p.m. today in the semifinals against Bridgeport (18-4-1) at the Trace Fork Complex in South Charleston.
"No, I didn't," said Mullen, when asked if she thought she had inherited a State Tournament team when she first took over the Irish program. "I thought it would be a few years. We only have two seniors, and start five freshmen."
The two teams played Sept. 8 and had to settle for a 1-1 tie.
"We scored first and was holding on when they tied it in the second half," Mullen said. "At the end of the game, we were glad to be able to come out with a tie. They are a good team, and if we are prepared to play 80 minutes, we should be able to give them a good game."
The top three goal-scorers on the Irish team are freshmen, led by Caroline Dundervill with 18. Peyton Mullen is second on the team in goals with 14, with Peyton Keener has 13.