Starr's Mill hands rival McIntosh its first loss

Defending Class AAAAA girls soccer champion Starr’s Mill, No. 2 in the most recent rankings, handed top-ranked McIntosh its first loss of the season on Friday with a 3-2 victory that secured first place in Region 4-AAAAA for the Panthers.

Starr’s Mill got two goals from Riley Clark and one from Ashton Nowicki, according to the school’s Twitter account, and held on for the victory after scoring early in the second half to break a 2-2 tie.

Starr’s Mill is 14-2 overall and 11-0 in the region, with a non-region contest against Walton (Tuesday) and the region finale against Stockbridge (Thursday) remaining. McIntosh (13-1, 10-1) plays Eagle’s Landing, Harrison and Forest Park next week.

McIntosh beat Starr’s Mill 4-1 last season but was eliminated by Greenbrier in the state quarterfinals. Starr’s Mill recovered from the late-season loss and went on to win its sixth state championship, beating region rival Northgate 2-0 in the final.

Here are some of the other games this weekend involving ranked teams that will go a long way toward determining region champions and playoff seeding.

*Region 6-AAAAAA: Fifth-ranked West Forsyth clinched the region title on Tuesday, and it's a good thing because the Wolverines suffered their first region loss on Friday when they fell to No. 3 Lambert 1-0 in a game decided by penalty kicks (4-3). No. 7 Johns Creek knocked off top-ranked South Forsyth on Friday to finish in a tie with West Forsyth for first place at 8-1 in the region, but West Forsyth won the regular-season matchup. Lambert and South Forsyth will be the other two state-playoff teams, with South Forsyth claiming the No. 3 seed if it beats Alpharetta on Tuesday.

*Region 4-AAA: Top-ranked Westminster continued to roll toward what it hopes will be the third state title in four years and locked down the top spot in 4-AAA when it beat third-ranked Decatur 5-0 on Friday, its second victory against the Bulldogs this season. Westminster is 13-1-1 overall, with a loss against Class AAAA No. 1 Marist and a tie against AAAAAA Walton. The loss ended Decatur's five-match winning streak in which it had outscored its opponents 42-0.

*Region 5-AAAAAA: The two remaining unbeaten teams in region play will meet for the title when second-ranked Lassiter (13-1, 7-0) travels to No. 8 Walton (9-3-2, 6-0) on Saturday in a 5 p.m. game. Lassiter suffered its only loss of the season when it fell 2-1 against West Forsyth on March 31 but rebounded with a 2-0 victory over Campbell on Tuesday. Walton is 1-2-2 in its past five matches. The losses came against Class AA No. 1 Pace Academy and Cardinal Gibbons, a 13-1 team from North Carolina.