Before every game for the last nine years, every player on the Christ Presbyterian Academy girls soccer team has eaten a pumpkin muffin or two.
Whether the Lady Lions are at home or on the road, a fresh batch of pumpkin muffins is there.
“It’s kind of like our good luck charm, and it’s something we always do,” senior defender Mary Morgan Smith said. “When I think of CPA soccer, that is one of the things that comes to mind. I think all of the moms have had to learn how to make the pumpkin muffins.”
CPA will be there with its good luck charm for the Class A/AA quarterfinals today against Sacred Heart at 12:30 p.m. at Chattanooga Christian.
Junior Caroline Conley’s mother, who had two older daughters play for CPA, started the tradition.
“Whatever’s in the recipe seems to work,” said Brandy Gagliano, who has been CPA’s coach for six years. “I personally would be devastated (without them) because that’s one thing that I look forward to. Usually I’m hungry, and it’s my pregame meal.”
CPA (18-2-2) has qualified for the state tournament every year Gagliano has been there, finishing twice as runner-up, including last year, and are seeking their first title.
The Lady Lions have a team meal, usually at Smith’s house. They sit, relax, eat, nap, do homework and just hang out with one another before the game.
“We wait for everyone to get there, and then we pray and have our pregame meal,” Smith said. “We sit afterward and talk about our lives, and then when game time comes around, we’ll start getting ready and we’ll all head over to the field together.”
CPA has taken the team approach on the field, too. Olivia Ball and Madi Andres lead the Lady Lions with 13 goals apiece; Lindsay Curtis has 10 assists.
Meredith Roman, who will be playing basketball at Belmont, has 75 saves, 13 shutouts and a 0.52 goals-against average.
“If our girls play the way they are capable of playing, I think we have as good a chance to win as anybody,” Gagliano said. “This year we have the talent from top to bottom, and we have the personnel and the passion and we have that chip on our shoulder.
“We can absolutely win it.”