Chattanooga Looks for Their Second Southeast Conference Title While Nashville is on the Hunt For Their First
Published Jul 18, 2021
Photo Credits - Jim Myers,  @shooter2jim (Twitter)

As the 2021 WPSL season comes to a close, two heavyweights in the Southeast Conference go head-to-head for one last meeting with the conference title on the line.

Ending the regular season as the top two teams in the Southeast Conference standings, Nashville Rhythm FC and Chattanooga Lady Red Wolves earned a bye for the first round of the 6-team conference postseason tournament. Along with the reward of a bye, the two sides were each granted home field advantage in the semifinal matches on Friday, July 16.

The first seed Rhythm welcomed fourth seed Alabama FC and proceeded to put on an offensive clinic in the first half, scoring four goals. Ole Miss graduate and Rhythm veteran forward Addie Forbus recorded a brace with the first goal coming in just under the first five minutes of kickoff as she launched a shot from 35 yards out that had just enough heat on it to slip through the Alabama keeper’s gloves and legs.

The Rhythm’s second and third goals of the half came within a couple minutes of each other. Vanderbilt alumnae Alea Hyatt and Candace West connected in the 33’ to put the Rhythm up by two. Hyatt served a perfectly weighted long ball over the backline to West who promptly cut it back and hammered it home just out of reach of the diving Alabama keeper.

Two minutes later in the 35’, Forbus completed her brace by finishing a cross from Cumberland University forward Brenna Swiger with a textbook diving header to the lower left corner of the net.

As the final moments of the first half closed out, Vanderbilt forward Raegan Kelly beat her defender and crossed a shot to the far corner of the goal to put the Rhythm up by four at the half and ultimately secure their place in tonight’s championship match.

The second seed Lady Red Wolves hosted third seed Southern Soccer Academy for the Southeast’s second semifinal match. Chattanooga midfielder Mackenzie Smith was the first to find the back of the net as she headed in a beautiful cross from Lee University forward and Chattanooga’s leading scorer Summer Hernandez (four goals, one assist) to go up by one in the 30’.

SSA would answer back 12 minutes later as Georgia State forward Brook Hart scored in the 42’ leveling the score line as the two sides ended the first half.

The score would remain level through the second half until midfielder Hannah Tillet buried a set piece in the 74’ to give Chattanooga the lead and the 2-1 win.

The Rhythm and Lady Red Wolves have already met each other twice this season. The first matchup ended in a 0-0 draw and in the second match Chattanooga gave Nashville their only loss of the season with a final score of 2-1.

“Having only one loss is a great achievement especially in a conference as strong as ours,” Scott Davidson, Nashville head coach said. “We have minimized the chance of mistakes and just been very efficient on both sides of the ball.”


Nashville knows how to get on the board as they’ve found the back of the net more than any team in the Southeast Conference while outscoring their opponents 21-8.  Middle Tennessee State graduate and Rhythm veteran forward Peyton DePriest put away eight of those goals, becoming Nashville’s leading scorer on the season.

Chattanooga is no stranger to scoring either, but they’re known for their adaptability and defensive prowess, only conceding five goals in the regular season. Starting goalkeeper, Canada native, and NAIA All-American Danielle Krzyzaniak, earned the nickname “Clean Sheet” by recording six shutouts this season.

Chattanooga is looking to defend the conference title they won in 2019, before the pandemic cancelled the 2020 season, while Nashville is aiming for their first conference championship since entering the league in 2017.


“It's a tough task for the team on Sunday but we believe we can do it and they [Nashville] will be ready to play their best game of the season,” Chattanooga head coach Luke Winter said.



With Nashville earning the first seed the conference final will be played on their home turf with kickoff set for 5:00 pm central time.

Watch game live on Eleven Sports, the official streaming partner of the WPSL

   Author:   Katie Parker,  @KatieParkerTV (Twitter)
   WPSL Contributor - South Region