Girls soccer blog: Traditional powers dominate top of rankings

Lambert has taken over the top spot in the Class AAAAAAA girls soccer rankings after previous No. 1 Parkview, the defending state champion, suffered its first loss of the season, 2-0 against South Carolina power J.L. Mann on Saturday in Greenville.

Lambert, which took a step back to 8-9-1 last season after winning its first state title in 2017, is back among the state’s elite after a 13-0 start in which the Longhorns have outscored their opponents 68-2. 

Madison Haugen, a junior who has committed to Georgia, scored a combined seven goals in Lambert’s two most recent wins, 10-0 against South Forsyth and 6-1 against Milton. Haugen has scored a school-record 21 goals this season. The other goal allowed by the Longhorns this year came in a 2-1 victory Class AAAA No. 1 St. Pius on Feb. 14. 

Lambert can clinch the 5-AAAAAAA title with a victory in its next region game April 12 against Forsyth Central or with a Forsyth Central victory against West Forsyth Thursday night. 

Parkview, which has won nine state championships, recovered from the loss to J.L. Mann with a 10-0 victory Tuesday against Meadowcreek to improve to 13-1 The Panthers continue region play Thursday night at home against Central Gwinnett. 

Here’s a look at the top teams in the other classifications with less than a month remaining in the regular season. 

*Class AAAAAA: Top-ranked Johns Creek has won seven consecutive matches since its only loss, 1-0 against Class AAAAAAA Hillgrove on March 7. The Gladiators have outscored their opponents 34-0 during the winning streak. Johns Creek, which lost to Alpharetta 1-0 in the semifinals last season, its seeking its first state title. Alpharetta, which went on to win its first championship last year, lost to Johns Creek 7-0 last week. The Raiders (6-4) are ranked No. 9. Perennial power Harrison (11-1-1) is No. 2. 

*Class AAAAA: Fayette County schools McIntosh, Starr’s Mill and Whitewater have won the past five championships in AAAAA and continue to dominate the classification. Top-ranked McIntosh (11-1-1) and No. 3 Starr’s Mill (9-3) will meet Thursday night in a game that will determine the No. 1 seed in the state tournament from Region 3-AAAAA. Whitewater is just 5-6-3 but ranked No. 10. The Wildcats have lost to both Starr’s Mill (4-0 on March 8) and McIntosh (3-0 on March 15) this season. 

*Class AAAA: St. Pius and Marist have met in the state finals for four consecutive seasons and appear on course for a fifth straight championship matchup as they sit at No. 1 (St. Pius) and No. 2 (Marist) in this week’s rankings. St. Pius had won five consecutive state titles, including three against Marist, until the War Eagles snapped that streak last year with a 2-1 victory in the final. St. Pius is 9-3-1 and Marist is 7-3-1 heading into Friday’s regular-season matchup. Marist is coming in off a 4-1 loss to No. 5 Flowery Branch. 

*Class AAA: Westminster has won four consecutive state titles (12 since 1996) and is back at the top of the rankings again despite a couple of losses. Both came against teams ranked No. 1 in higher classifications – 1-0 against Lambert on Feb. 5 in the season opener and 4-3 against McIntosh on March 12. The Wildcats have won three straight since that loss and are 8-2 heading to Gatlinburg, Tenn., this weekend for the Smoky Mountain Cup. Westminster will face Norman North (Okla.) Thursday and Huntsville (Ala.) Saturday. 

*Class AA: Two-time defending champion St. Vincent’s Academy is 9-2 and ranked No. 2, but the bigger threat this season appears to be Region 2-AA rival Vidalia. The Indians are ranked No. 1 and off to a 13-0 start that includes an important 2-1 victory against St. Vincent’s on Feb. 27. Vidalia has won its past four region matches by a combined score of 40-0 and can clinch the region title with a victory Thursday against Bacon County. The Indians handed AAA No. 9 Pierce County its first loss of the season, 5-0, Wednesday. 

*Class A: Top-ranked First Presbyterian is the defending champion and has won 34 consecutive matches, a streak that dates to a 4-1 loss to Wesleyan in the 2017 state final. The Vikings are 11-0 this season after a 2-1 victory Friday against Christ the King School of North Carolina behind goals from Peyton Buckner and Karsten Herron. First Presbyterian resumes play on April 4 against AAAAA Jones County and travels to No. 10 Stratford Academy on April 11 in a game that likely will decide the Area 2 championship.

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