Six of the eight girls soccer teams that were ranked No. 1 in the state entering the postseason remain on track for championships as the playoffs head into the semifinals and finals this week.
Johns Creek, the top-ranked team in Class AAAAAA, survived the biggest early scare when it escaped the first round with a 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Sprayberry in a match that was decided in penalty kicks. The Gladiators (18-2-1) have since righted the ship, beating Lanier and Lakeside-Evans in the next two rounds by a combined score of 11-0. Their next challenge will come Tuesday night against Harrison (16-3-1), which won state titles three of the past eight years. Johns Creek is seeking its first championship. The winner will face Dacula or Heritage-Conyers in the final.
Class AAAA No. 1 St. Pius won the most highly anticipated matchup of the early rounds when it beat rival Marist 4-0 in the second round. The two DeKalb County private schools met in the finals each of the past four years, with St. Pius winning the first three and Marist winning the title last year, stopping St. Pius’ streak of five consecutive titles. The Golden Lions have had little trouble in their other playoff games, beating Chapel Hill and Northside-Columbus by 10-0 scores. St. Pius will take on Blessed Trinity in one semifinal, while Columbus and Flowery Branch face off in the other.
Westminster of Class AAA can match the St. Pius state record of five straight titles with two victories this week. Like St. Pius, Westminster had its toughest challenge in the second round, beating Lumpkin County 1-0. The Wildcats’ other playoff victories came against East Jackson (10-0) and Islands (9-0). They’ll take on Greater Atlanta Christian in the semifinals, with the winner meeting Jefferson or Lovett in the final.
The other three remaining No. 1-ranked teams have rolled through the first three rounds.
Class AAAAAAA Lambert has outscored South Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge and Hillgrove 17-0 and will face Brookwood in the semifinals. The winner will take on Parkview or North Gwinnett in the final. All four semifinalists have won at least one state championship, and they have combined for 13 titles overall.
Class AAAAA McIntosh cruised past Wayne County (14-0) and Locust Grove (10-0) in the first two rounds before advancing past Decatur 4-1 in the quarterfinals. McIntosh won state titles in 2016 and 2017 before losing in the final last season and has 11 championships overall. The Chiefs will face Riverwood in the semifinals for the right to take on Carrollton or Whitewater for the championship. Whitewater won the title as a No. 3 seed last year and is repeating that magic, advancing to the semifinals as a No. 3 seed again.
Class AA No. 1 St. Vincent’s has advanced past Washington County (10-0), Thomasville (4-0) and Union County (5-0) in its bid for a third consecutive state championship. The Saints will travel to Bremen, and the winner will take on Model or Vidalia for the title.
The only classification in which the top-ranked teams have been eliminated is Class A, which is holding separate 16-team tournaments for public and private schools and has already conducted its semifinals. Private school First Presbyterian, the champion in the combined Class A tournament last season, was knocked out in the second round by 2017 champion Wesleyan 5-0. Wesleyan will play Pinecrest Academy at 5 p.m. Thursday at McEachern for the championship.
Georgia Military, the top-ranked Class A public school, was knocked out by Atlanta Classical 2-0 in the semifinals. Atlanta Classical will face ACE Charter at 5 p.m. Thursday at Mercer University for the title. Both schools are seeking their first-ever state championship.
Brookwood at Lambert
Parkview at North Gwinnett
Dacula at Heritage-Conyers
Johns Creek at Harrison
Riverwood at McIntosh
Whitewater at Carrollton
Blessed Trinity at St. Pius
Flowery Branch at Columbus
Greater Atlanta Christian at Westminster
Jefferson at Lovett
St. Vincent’s at Bremen
Vidalia at Model
Class A (Private)
Wesleyan vs. Pinecrest Academy, 5 p.m. Thursday, McEachern High School
Class A (Public)
ACE Charter vs. Atlanta Classical, 5 p.m. Thursday, Mercer University
All other classifications
Finals will be played Friday and Saturday at McEachern and Mercer. Final sites and game times have not been determined.
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