State’s elite programs and three first-timers win state titles
The three most successful girls soccer programs in state history and three first-time winners were among the teams bringing home trophies when the GHSA crowned its state champions over the weekend at McEachern High School and Mercer University.
McIntosh, St. Pius and Westminster each won its 11th state title, the most of any school since the championships began in 1992, and Lambert, St. Vincent’s and Wesleyan won their first titles. They were joined in the winner’s circle by Harrison, which won its third title in seven years.
Class AAAAAAA Lambert got a goal from Alisa Barr two minutes into the first overtime period for a 2-1 victory over Grayson, avenging a 5-0 loss to the Rams in the state final two years ago. Maddie Eddleman’s goal gave Lambert a 1-0 lead midway through the first half, but Grayson’s Brittany Montgomery tied the game less than a minute into the second half.
Harrison outscored Johns Creek 4-2 in penalty kicks after the teams had played to a scoreless draw through regulation and overtime in the Class AAAAAA final. Kenzie Bonham converted the game-winning kick for the Hoyas, who also had successful attempts from Brooke Brownlee, Sarah Alexander and Isabel Heckman. Harrison also won championships in 2011 and 2014.
Class AAAAA McIntosh was the only No. 2 seed to win a championship. The Chiefs earned their second consecutive title, fifth in seven years and 11th overall with a 2-0 victory over Buford, which was seeking its first state championship. Taylor Malasek scored both of the Chiefs’ goals in the final 10 minutes of the game, and McIntosh handed Buford its first shutout of the year.
St. Pius won its fifth consecutive championship and 11th overall when it beat Marist 1-0 in the Class AAAA final. Caroline Orman scored the game’s only goal in the 32nd minute of the second half. St. Pius, which avenged a 2-0 loss to Marist on March 28, has beaten its Atlanta private-school rival in the championship game each of the past three seasons.
Westminster won its third consecutive title and 11th overall when it beat Region 5 rival Pace Academy 3-0 in the Class AAA final. The game was scoreless at halftime, but the Wildcats got second-half goals from Maggie Graham, Tori Penn and Astrid Wheeler to secure the victory. Westminster finished the season 20-1-1, suffering its only loss against St. Pius on Feb. 24.
St. Vincent’s continued its dominant season with a 10-0 victory over East Laurens in the Class AA final to earn its first title. Lizzie Horn led the Saints with four goals. Sarah Stewart scored two goals to give her 73 for the season and 202 in her career. Cara Diaz had two goals, and Elyssa Bogue and Meghan Vierheilig added one each. The Saints outscored their opponents 37-0 in the playoffs.
Wesleyan scored three second-half goals to pull away from First Presbyterian for a 4-1 victory in the Class A final and the program’s first state title. Lucy Mitchell and T.J. Anderson each had a goal and an assist, and Paige Prettyman and Sutton West had goals for the Wolves. The loss was the only one of the season for First Presbyterian, which won state championships in 2011 and 2012.
M.L. King junior forward Jasmine Mathis broke the DeKalb County goal-scoring record (for boys or girls) when she finished with 66 for the Lions this season. The previous record for girls was 55 by Southwest DeKalb’s Kristin Peagler in 2013. Danielle Dean of Arabia Mountain finished second this season with 40 goals. Redan’s Karen DePaz-Veliz and M.L. King’s Nina Shaw were the county’s assist leaders with 31 each. Rury Alvarez of Stone Mountain set the DeKalb boys record for goals with 56 in 2008.