Aquinas, Paideia girls, Atlanta International, Georgia Military boys win soccer championships

The opening day of the GHSA soccer championships features the Class A Division I and II championships at Mercer in Macon and McEachern in Powder Springs.

Follow the link to the boys or girls brackets to see how each team advanced to the title matches and check out the recaps below.

Class A Division II girls

Aquinas 2, Lake Oconee Academy 1

It took one half of scoring and one half of holding on through a war of attrition for Aquinas to defend last season’s title against top-ranked Lake Oconee Academy. But a goal from junior Elle Morris proved to be the game-winner.

“It just means so much to these girls,” said Aquinas head coach Melissa Minton. “We are super excited. These freshman girls, we are just so proud of them. And our seniors just deserve this win.”

The Fightin’ Irish took the 1-0 lead on a goal from Mary Jane Knight with 30:28 left in the first half but Lake Oconee responded with a goal from Jane Monachello minutes late the knot the match at 1-1.

“It just comes down to who wants it more,” Minton said. “Lake Oconee is a great, great program and they have really good players and play really hard. Our girls just conditioned hard and trained well and I guess they just didn’t get as tired.”

Morris’s goal with 7:14 left in the first half put Aquinas ahead for good, securing the program’s second overall championship. Lake Oconee was trying for a program-first championship.

Class A Division I girls

Paideia 8, Social Circle 1

It took very little time for Paideia to take control of the match in a romp of Social Circle to capture the Pythons’ fourth state title and first since 2013. And it took very little more time for Olivia Colby to record a hattrick while building Paideia’s momentum.

A junior midfielder, Colby scored just 20 seconds into the match to give the Paideia the lead. Colby added another strike off a rebound from a missed clear by Social Circle with 20 minutes left in the first half. She netted her third goal of the match with 16:12 left in the opening half.

The Pythons extended the lead on a goal from a header by Eva-Jean Young off an assist from Colby. Sophomore midfielder Camille McIlvoy extended the lead to 5-1 on a bending kick from 20 yards which kissed off the right goalpost and into the net. A beautiful goal.

Young, a senior forward, scored with 23 minutes left in the match to expand the margin to 6-1. A penalty kick from Colby gave Paideia a 7-1 lead. Sophomore forward Suriyah Frame capped scoring on a shot to the far post, putting the match further out of reach.

Paideia won titles in 2000, 2001 and 2013 while Social Circle was trying for its second championship and first since 2022.

Class A Division I boys

Atlanta International 2, Paideia 0

It took two goals in the first half coupled with a stifling defensive effort to allow Atlanta International to win the program’s third overall state championship in a rematch of last season’s championship match.

The Eagles went up 1-0 on a strike from junior Anthoine Jacob with 12:53 left in the half. Senior Nico Decoufle put Atlanta International up 2-0 with 8:14 left, giving the Eagles an insurmountable lead.

Paideia was trying for the program’s sixth state championship and a title defense after beating Atlanta International 2-1 in the championship match last season.

Both programs rose to prominence around the same time with Paideia winning the 2013 and 2014 Class A championships, its first, before Atlanta International captured its first championship in 2015 in Class A.

Paideia retook the Class A title in 2016 and 2018 before 2019’s reclassification cycle. Atlanta International won the 2022 Class A Private title in the last year before another reclass cycle sent both programs to Class A Division I last season.

Class A Division II boys

Georgia Military 4, Atkinson County 1

Two goals from star sophomore Tommy Carty provided Georgia Military the offensive production it needed to secure the program’s third state championship.

Tommy Carty put the Bulldogs up 1-0 with 10 minutes left in the first half. Sophomore Bennie Huff extended the lead to 2-0 with eight minutes left in the first half. Just before halftime, senior Brian Sherwood found the net to extend the lead to 3-0.

Atkinson County got on the board on a goal from Alan Castillo early in the second half, but the Rebels could not rally. Carty’s second goal was insurance, extending the margin to 4-1.

And after a loss to Christian Heritage in the championship match last season, 2-1, the Bulldogs were goal-oriented all season at a return trip. The program won its first championship in 2019, missed 2020 due to the pandemic, and won the 2021 championship. Atkinson County was trying for the program’s first-ever state championship.

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