Boys soccer blog: Nationally ranked teams highlight quarterfinal round of playoffs

Fifty-six boys soccer teams are still alive in the GHSA State Soccer Championships, and they will compete Wednesday to reach the semifinals (Classes AAAAAAA-AA) or finals (A Public and A Private) in the state playoff brackets.

The semifinals will take place May 14 for the higher classes; A Public and A Private state championship matches will be played May 16.

In Class AAAAAAA, Kennesaw Mountain travels to Lakeside-DeKalb; Meadowcreek plays host to North Paulding, and Roswell heads to Milton. But the most highly anticipated matchup has No. 3 Hillgrove taking on top-ranked and defending champion Lambert.

Both programs are ranked nationally by MaxPreps -- Hillgrove at No. 8 and Lambert at No. 11.

Lambert advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory against Rockdale County and a 3-0 victory against Collins Hill. Hillgrove defeated East Coweta 2-0 and Walton 3-1.

Lambert and Hillgrove each have one loss on their records, ironically coming on the same day. On April 9, Lambert lost to North Gwinnett 2-1, and Hillgrove lost to Carrollton 3-2. Since then, Lambert has only allowed one goal in its six victories and hasn’t allowed a goal in the tournament. Hillgrove also has allowed one goal in its five matches since the loss, and that came against Walton in the second round.

In Class AAA, Westminster, which is ranked third nationally and No. 1 in the classification, will take on Islands in a quarterfinal match as it continues its run toward a third consecutive AAA title. The Wildcats beat Hart County 5-0 and Calhoun 3-0 to reach the quarterfinals. Westminster is ranked behind Clover, S.C., and Dutch Fork, S.C., in the MaxPreps national poll and is the highest-ranked team from Georgia. Westminster has one loss (1-0 to Station Camp, Tenn., on March 29) and and one tie (against Bob Jones, Ala., on Feb. 16).

Here are the quarterfinal (AAAAAA-AA) and semifinal (A-Public/Private) pairings:

Boys soccer playoffs
(all games scheduled for Wednesday, pending changes)

Class AAAAAAA (quarterfinals)

R3 #4 North Paulding at R7 #2 Meadowcreek 
R3 #1 Hillgrove at R5 #1 Lambert 
R3 #2 Kennesaw Mountain at R7 #1 Lakeside-DeKalb 
R4 #4 Roswell at R5 #2 Milton 

Class AAAAAA (quarterfinals)

R2 #1 Richmond Hill at R8 #1 Gainesville 
R3 #1 Lakeside-Evans at R7 #3 Cambridge 
R4 #1 Tucker at R7 #1 Pope 
R2 #2 Glynn Academy at R6 #1 Dalton 

Class AAAAA (quarterfinals)

R3 #4 Fayette County at R8 #1 Johnson-Gainesville 
R3 #1 Starr’s Mill at R5 #1 Cross Keys 
R3 #2 McIntosh at R7 #1 Carrollton 
R3 #3 Whitewater at R7 #4 Rome 

Class AAAA (quarterfinals)

R2 #1 Upson-Lee at R7#2 Blessed Trinity 
R4 #2 Druid Hills at R7 #3 Marist 
R4 #1 Woodward Academy at R8 #2 Oconee County 
R2 #2 Spalding at R6 #1 Southeast Whitfield 

Class AAA (quarterfinals)

R2 #1 Tattnall County at R8 #1 Jefferson 
R3 #1 Islands at R5 #1 Westminster 
R3 #2 Benedictine at R5 #3 Pace Academy 
R3 #3 Windsor Forest at R6 #1 Coahulla Creek 

Class AA (quarterfinals)

R2 #1 Vidalia at R7 #2 Pepperell 
R2 #4 Jeff Davis at R8 #4 Union County 
R4 #1 Harlem at R8 #2 Putnam County 
R1 #1 Thomasville at R5 #2 Bremen 

Class A Public (semifinals)

A7 #1 Lake Oconee Academy at A2 #2 ACE Charter 
A1 #1 Atkinson County at A2 #1 Georgia Military 

Class A Private (semifinals)

A7 #1 Atlanta International at A8 #1 Wesleyan 
A5 #1 Walker at A6 #1 Whitefield Academy

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