Friday soccer championship recaps

St. Vincent's beat Oglethorpe Co. 9-0 in the girls 2A game. Credit: Seth Ellerbee

The GHSA soccer state championships are Friday and Saturday split between Five Star Stadium at Mercer and Cantrell Stadium at McEachern. Mercer will host four games each day, and McEachern will host two on Friday and four on Saturday. See the full schedule and previews for all 14 games.



Girls Class AA
St. Vincent’s 9, Oglethorpe County 0

St. Vincent’s girls defended their Class AA title with a 9-0 victory over Oglethorpe County at Five Star Stadium in Macon. The Saints outscored opponents 39-1 through the playoffs.

St. Vincent’s took an 8-0 lead at the break, forcing a shortened 20-minute second half. Lauren O’Hearn got the scoring started at the 37′ mark on a short goal. Teammate Lizzie Horn added a goal at the 35′ mark and another with 22:56 left in the first half. Horn would add another with 17:32 left in the game. Isabella Hogan added two goals midway through the first half, pushing the lead to 4-0 and 5-0. Anna Fife added a short goal to give St. Vincent’s a 6-0 lead at the 16:44 mark in the first half. Sophie Winters also scored in the victory. The win marked the second-ever state title for St. Vincent’s.

Boys Class AA
Benedictine 7, Putnam County 0

Benedictine won its second-ever title and successfully defended its 2017 Class AA state title with a 7-0 victory over Putnam County in Macon. The Cadets were led by sophomore forward Gavin Stewart’s six goals. Benedictine took down Coosa 4-1 in last year’s title game.

Stewart, whose brother Brad is a wide receiver at Georgia Tech, scored the first goal in less than two minutes from the opening whistle and added another just three minutes later. David Hale, a freshman forward, pushed the Cadets lead to 3-0 with 18 minutes left in the first half. The rest of the game, it was Stewart’s show.

“I just know I couldn’t have done it without my team,” Stewart said. “All I cared about was winning for them.”

Stewart, who entered the game with 40 goals on the season, scored again 12 minutes before the half and added two second-half goals just three minutes apart to push the lead to 7-0. His six goals gave him 46 on the year.

Girls Class AAAAA
Whitewater 1 (3), McIntosh 1 (1)

Whitewater weathered two five-minute extra-time periods before winning a penalty-kick shootout against the defending champion McIntosh Lady Chiefs.

Whitewater held the lead for nearly all of the game after an Abbie Crane goal just over 10 minutes into the game. Both teams struggled to find a rhythm offensively throughout the game, and it looked as if Whitewater would take its second-ever state title, and first since 2007, in regulation.

McIntosh found an answer, however, when Kimmy Edgeworth scored with 17 seconds left on a short clean-up goal. Neither squad could find a goal through the two five-minute periods of extra time, and the game went to penalty kicks.

In PKs, McIntosh had the first attempt, which Whitewater goalkeeper Abby Grandea blocked. She would continue to show out, making two saves and only allowing one goal through PKs. Whitewater’s sharpshooters Molly Downing, Jolie Ryff and Crane each converted their penalty kicks to put away the game. McIntosh’s Juliana Pickard scored the lone goal for the Lady Chiefs in PKs.

Boys Class AAAAA
Johnson-Gainesville 1, McIntosh 0

Johnson-Gainesville took the Class AAAAA boys title over defending champion McIntosh by a score of 1-0 in the final game of the day at Macon after a rebound put-back by senior forward Michael Arcia.

Neither team could find a rhythm on offense in the first 40 minutes, and at the break, the game remained scoreless. On Johnson’s side, goalkeeper Cooper Bowen was a stone wall, and just 45 seconds before Arcia’s goal, Bowen made back-to-back saves on a header and the rebound, keeping McIntosh scoreless.

On a cross from McIntosh’s Brandon Fambro, the ball was headed toward the goal, Bowen switched direction and dove to make the save. The ball rolled to the right side of the goal (left of the goalkeeper) and Bowen dove again, in the opposite direction, to grab the ball and deny the second McIntosh attempt.

It took just one more trip down the field for Johnson to capitalize on Arcia’s rebound and score, which put away the game. The victory marked the first-ever state boys soccer championship for the Knights.



Girls Class AAA
Westminster 3 (4), Lovett 3 (2)

Westminster won its 12th girls state soccer championship as it defeated region rival Lovett in PKs at McEachern High School in Powder Springs.

Lovett took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute on a goal by Chandler Kerry, forcing Westminster to answer. It would, and the Lady Wildcats tied the game at 1-1 with 21 minutes left in the first half on a Smith Patton goal.

Kerry would score again nine minutes later to push the Lovett lead to 2-1. Just before the half, Westminster’s Merritt Smith tied the game at 2-2 on an assist from Madeline Langley. Kerry got her hat trick with three minutes left in the first half, pushing the Lovett lead to 3-2.

With six minutes left in the game, a Lovett miscommunication allowed a slow rolling ball to cross the goal line for an own goal, tying the game at 3-3, where it would remain until the end of regulation and extra time, sending the game to penalty kicks.

Once in PKs, Lovett’s Lucy Karem put the Lions up first. Westminster’s Annie Bernot tied the game on her attempt. Schuyler Simons missed next for Lovett, and Westminster’s Tori Penn made her shot, giving the defending state champions a 2-1 lead. Lovett missed the next attempt and Westminster’s Emma Tordella converted her shot to give the Lady Wildcats a 3-1 lead. Lovett made the next attempt before Langley sealed the victory with a make, giving Westminster a 4-2 lead and the title.

Boys Class AAA
Westminster 1, Calhoun 0

Westminster won its 13th boys soccer title and successfully defended its 2017 championship with a 1-0 victory over Calhoun in the Class AAA title game at McEachern.

The game was scoreless through the first half as the teams had trouble finding offensive production. Thirty-seven minutes of the second half saw the same situation with both teams searching for the right opportunity to take the lead.

Westminster’s Danny DeSouza, a junior midfielder, found the back of the net with three minutes remaining on a low 8-yard shot through a box filled with players. The Calhoun goalkeeper was shielded from DeSouza, which allowed the shot to find the net.

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