Class AAA Westminster and Class AA St. Vincent’s Academy successfully defended their titles at the GHSA girls soccer championships, held last weekend at McEachern High and Mercer University. Here’s a recap of the seven championship matches:
Parkview 2, Milton 0
*Recap: Second-ranked Parkview survived penalty kicks in the quarterfinals against No. 9 Hillgrove and the semifinals against No. 1 Lassiter but needed no such extra time against third-ranked Milton in the final. After a scoreless first half, Parkview’s Nieva Gaither scored the game-winner in the 43rd minute, extending her school record to 37 goals this season. Tesfanesh McDonald added a goal in the 68th minute. Parkview won its 20th consecutive game, its only loss coming against fourth-ranked Peachtree Ridge in February.
*History: Parkview won its first championship since 2013 but its ninth overall, the most by any team in the highest classification. The Panthers previously won state titles in 1997, 1999 (tie with Pope), 2003 (tie with Brookwood), 2005, 2007 (tie with Grayson), 2008, 2009 and 2013. Milton won a championship in 2012, the last year that AAAAAA was the highest classification.
Alpharetta 3, Glynn Academy 2
*Recap: Jenna Horton scored the game-winning goal seven minutes into the second half, making the Raiders the only No. 4 seed and unranked team to earn a state title this season. Mary Wygle gave Alpharetta a 1-0 lead nine minutes into the game, and Abby Schwartz converted a penalty kick at about the 28-minute mark of the half. Coffee got first-half goals from Mady Carroll and Sally Brock. It was the first loss of the season for Region 2 champion Glynn Academy, which had allowed just six goals in winning its first 21 games.
*History: Alpharetta won its first state championship in soccer (boys or girls). The Raiders, as a No. 4 seed, had an incredibly difficult march through the playoffs, winning four games away from home. They knocked off Region 8 champion Dacula, defending state champion Harrison, Grovetown and top-ranked Johns Creek to reach the final. Glynn Academy is still seeking its first title.
Whitewater 1, McIntosh 1 (Whitewater wins 3-1 in penalty kicks)
*Recap: Whitewater finished as the No. 3 seed from 3-AAAAA but knocked off the region’s No. 2 seed (Starr’s Mill) and No. 1 seed (McIntosh, the two-time defending state champion) in its final two games of the playoffs. The Wildcats had lost to both during the regular season by a combined score of 5-1. Whitewater led the final most of the way after Abbie Crane scored 10 minutes into the game, but McIntosh got a tying goal from Kimmy Edgeworth with 17 seconds remaining in regulation.
*History: Whitewater won its second state championship and first since 2007. This was the 12th time in 15 years that either McIntosh, Starr’s Mill or Whitewater has won a state title. McIntosh was trying for its 12th championship, which would have tied Westminster for most in state history.
Marist 2, St. Pius 1
*Recap: Junior forward Caroline Ross scored with about seven minutes remaining to give Marist the victory against its DeKalb County private-school rival. St. Pius had taken the early lead on a goal by Emory Wegener about seven minutes into the game, but Marist pulled even on a goal by Liz Geeslin in the opening minutes of the second half. Marist finished the season 20-1-1, including a 2-1 victory over St. Pius on April 17. The War Eagles’ only loss came against Blessed Trinity, which lost to St. Pius in the semifinals.
*History: Marist won its 10th championship, first since 2014, and stopped St. Pius’ attempt to become the first soccer team in state history (boys or girls) to win six consecutive titles. St. Pius had beaten Marist in the final the past three seasons despite losing the regular-season matchup all three years. St. Pius was trying for its 12th title, which would have tied Westminster for the state record.
Westminster 3, Lovett 3 (Westminster wins 4-2 in penalty kicks)
*Recap: Chandler Kerry of second-ranked Lovett scored three goals to give her team a 3-2 lead at halftime, but an own goal with six minutes remaining in regulation allowed No. 1 Westminster to tie the game and send it to overtime. Smith Patton and Merritt Smith scored Westminster’s first-half goals. Westminster’s Annie Bernot, Tori Penn, Emma Tordella and Madeline Langley converted their penalty kicks to give the Wildcats the victory. Westminster had beaten Lovett 2-1 in the regular season on April 17.
*History: Westminster became the first school in state history to win 12 state championships in girls soccer. This was the Wildcats’ fourth consecutive title and fifth in six years. Westminster has beaten a team from its region (Lovett in 2018, Pace Academy in 2017 and Blessed Trinity in 2016 and 2015) in the final each season during its current four-year reign.
St. Vincent’s 9, Oglethorpe County 0
*Recap: St. Vincent’s dominated the tournament, outscoring its opponents 39-1, to put the finishing touches on an 18-3-1 season. The Saints took control early in the final, getting a goal from Furman signee Lauren O’Hearn in the second minute. St. Vincent’s led 8-0 at halftime, and the second half was shortened to 20 minutes. Lizzie Horn scored three goals, freshman Isabella Hogan had two goals and two assists, Sophie Winters scored twice, Anna Fife had a goal and an assist, and Emma Beddow added two assists.
*History: Top-ranked St. Vincent’s became the first Savannah-area school to win back-to-back championships (Savannah Country Day also has two titles, in 2002 and 2006). The Saints had a similar easy time in the 2017 final, beating East Laurens 10-0. East Laurens lost to Oglethorpe County 3-2 in the semifinals this year. Oglethorpe County is still seeking its first championship.
First Presbyterian 2, Athens Academy 0
*Recap: Second-ranked First Presbyterian recorded its 19th shutout of the season and completed a 23-0 season, the only undefeated team in any classification this year. The Vikings took a 1-0 lead on a goal from sophomore Maggie Davis 26 minutes into the game, and junior Jansyn Samples scored on a header five minutes into the second half. First Presbyterian outscored its opponents 23-0 in five playoff games. Top-ranked Athens Academy had its 19-game winning streak broken.
*History: First Presbyterian won its third state championship since moving to the GHSA in 2010. The Vikings, who lost to Wesleyan in the final last season, won their first two titles in 2011 and 2012. Athens Academy, still seeking its first state title, finished as runner-up for the third time in program history.