||Paideia's boys took the Class A crown. Credit: Seth Ellerbee
The soccer state championships were held at McEachern and Mercer over the weekend, and 14 state champions were crowned. Here are the recaps from Score Atlanta's Seth Ellerbee, who covered the action from Five Star Stadium in Macon.
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.
Girls Class AAAAAA
Alpharetta 3, Glynn Academy 2
Alpharetta won its first-ever girls state soccer championship after defeating Glynn Academy in the Class AAAAAA title game at McEachern.
Just nine minutes in, Alpharetta took a 1-0 lead on a Mary Wygle goal with on an assist from Ellie Fuller. Glynn answered just over a minute later on a goal after several sloppy attempts to clear the ball from the box. At the 16-minute mark, Abby Schwartz converted a penalty kick after Jenna Horton drew a foul in the box, giving Alpharetta a 2-1 lead.
With five minutes left in the half, an Alpharetta defender fell in the box following a Glynn cross, and the following goal tied the game at 2-2.
In the second half, Alpharetta's Horton scored just seven minutes in on a goal just under the cross bar. The Lady Raiders' defense weathered the next 33 minutes without a goal, giving them the 3-2 victory.
Boys Class AAAAAA
Chattahoochee 2, Cambridge 1 (OT)
It took two periods of extra time, but in the end, a goal by Ryan Kapper in the first overtime period gave Chattahoochee the Class AAAAAA boys soccer title for the second year in a row.
The game went scoreless through the first half before Chattahoochee took a 1-0 lead from a Sammy Viada goal with eight minutes left in the second half. Cambridge would not go quietly, however, and a Ryan Walker goal with :28 left in regulation tied the game at 1-1.
The Chattahoochee defense weathered another five-minute overtime period, securing the title. Chattahoochee took the Class AAAA title in 2011, its first before taking last year's AAAAAA title.
Girls Class AAAAAAA
Parkview 2, Milton 0
Parkview won its ninth girls soccer title after moving past Milton 2-0 in the Class AAAAAAA title game at McEachern. The Lady Panthers tied for titles in Class AAAA in 1999 with Pope, in Class AAAAA in 2003 with Brookwood and in 2007 with Grayson. The victory marks the first title for Parkview since the 2013 season.
Through the first half, neither team could capitalize offensively. Parkview had the advantage in possession and shots in the first half but Alexandra Bicknell stood strong in the net. Milton's Payton Aussin gave Parkview a scare with a shot on goal midway through the period, but a solid stand from the Panthers keeper denied the attempt.
Parkview struck first just over three minutes into the second half on a Nieva Gaithersburg goal. Parkview stretched the lead to a comfortable 2-0 with a goal by Tesfanesh McDonald in the 68th minute.
Boys Class AAAAAAA
Lambert 3, South Forsyth 2
Lambert won its second-ever state title with a 3-2 victory over South Forsyth in the Class AAAAAAA title game at McEachern. The Longhorns' last state title came in 2012 in Class AAAA.
Lambert's Logan Racine struck first on a header into the left side of the net at the 32:37 mark of the first half. South would answer 29 minutes later on a goal from Patrick Kelly on a 30-yard strike.
Lambert struck first in the second half on a short shot by Noah Sivinski that was assisted by Kyler Darsey with 31:18 left in the second half. With five minutes left in regulation, Darsey found another teammate, this time Hayden Fontana, who converted a goal to the right side of the net. South Forsyth got a consolation goal from Diego Cruz but the game was out of reach.
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 A
First Presbyterian 2, Athens Academy 0
First Presbyterian won its third state title and first since 2012 as it defeated Athens Academy in the Class A title game at Mercer in Macon.
FPD took a 1-0 lead on a goal from sophomore midfielder Maggie Davis 26 minutes into the game. Davis got the ball in the right side of the box and struck a low shot to the bottom left side of the net.
Just over five minutes into the second half, FPD applied even more pressure on a header goal by junior midfielder Jansyn Samples, giving the Lady Vikings a commanding 2-0 lead.
First Presbyterian won back-to-back Class A titles in 2011 and 2012.
Boys Class A
Paideia 2, Atlanta International 0
Paideia won its fourth boys state soccer title with a 2-0 victory over Atlanta International in the Class A title game at Mercer.
The game went back and forth as both squads searched for a rhythm, and at the 25-minute mark, Paideia struck first on a goal by sophomore midfielder Lorenzo Socchi. The game would remain 1-0 at the half.
Following the break, it took less than 30 minutes for Paideia to extend the lead on a goal by Jack Reilly off a rebound inside the box. The goal pushed the lead to 2-0 and put the game seemingly out of reach. Frustrations down the stretch led to several yellow cards against Atlanta International, putting the game further out of reach.
Paideia won its three other titles in 2013-14 and 2016.
Girls Class AAAA
Marist 2, St. Pius 1
Marist won its 10th girls soccer title as the Lady War Eagles defeated St. Pius in Macon after losing to the Lady Golden Lions for the third year in a row in last year's state title game. Marist shared two titles over the years, in 1995 with Pace Academy and in 2001 with St. Pius.
St. Pius took the lead with just under seven minutes in the game as senior Emory Wegener snuck the ball past the Marist goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. The would stay 1-0 at the half.
Marist erased the deficit just two minutes into the second half on a goal by sophomore midfielder Liz Geeslin, and then the Lady War Eagles commanded the pace of the game for the rest of the half, keeping the St. Pius defense on its toes.
The effort paid off, and with seven minutes left, Caroline Ross, a junior forward, scored to break the stalemate and give Marist the lead. Smart play down the stretch put the game away for the Lady War Eagles.
Boys Class AAAA
Northwest Whitfield 3, Chestatee 2
In a game that was scoreless at the break, Northwest Whitfield used two goals within the final 3:30 to overtake Chestatee and win its first-ever state title in the final game of the day at Mercer.
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead early on a 30-yard strike from Anthony Ramirez at the 34:33 mark of the second half before two Chestatee goals allowed the War Eagles a 2-1 lead. At the 21:24 mark, Austin Manzo scored off a through ball when, as the goalie went low, Manzo chipped the ball over the keeper into the back of the net.
At 6:25, Uriel Rocha scored on a pass from Mateus Jennings for a strange goal. Following a loose ball that rolled toward the goal line, Rocha laid on his chest just outside the goal, seemingly pushing the ball over the plane with his head for an interesting header, to say the least.
From then, it was all Northwest Whitfield's game. Sergio Soria scored with a blast to the near post with 3:30 left in the game, and just a minute and a half later, Soria assisted Fabian Navarro with the go-ahead strike to give the Bruins the 3-2 lead and the game.