Girls soccer blog: Playoffs in five classes begin Tuesday night

Senior Lily Garrigan (11) leads fourth-ranked Dunwoody into the playoffs Tuesday, when the Wildcats take on Etowah in the first round of the Class 7A tournament.

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Senior Lily Garrigan (11) leads fourth-ranked Dunwoody into the playoffs Tuesday, when the Wildcats take on Etowah in the first round of the Class 7A tournament.

The state girls soccer playoffs begin Tuesday night with first-round games in classes 7A, 5A, 3A, A Private and A Public, to be played at the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.

Classes 6A, 4A and 2A will play their first of five rounds Thursday night. Champions will be crowned May 3-6 at McEachern High School and Mercer University.

Here’s a look at the classifications that begin play Tuesday. Previews for the other classifications will be posted Thursday.

Class 7A

*No. 1 team: Denmark

*2021 champion: West Forsyth

*Overview: Top-ranked Denmark secured the first region title in soccer – boys or girls – in school history when it defeated South Forsyth 8-0 on March 24. Now the Danes will try to become the third Forsyth County school in six years to win state, joining 2017 Lambert and 2021 West Forsyth. Denmark (17-0) outscored its opponents 107-3 in the regular season. The Danes open the playoffs against Mountain View and could face a second-round contest against Parkview, which lost to the Danes 2-0 last week. No. 2 Brookwood (15-2) also is a threat. The Broncos’ losses were to 5A No. 1 Chamblee and 4A No. 1 North Oconee in one-goal games.

*Worth noting: West Forsyth is 13-3 and ranked No. 10 but faces a tough road back to the finals. If the Wolverines survive Collins Hill in the first round, they could meet No. 2 Brookwood in Round 2 and No. 4 Dunwoody or No. 7 Hillgrove in the quarterfinals.

*First-round matchups:

(R1 #3) Tift County at (R3 #2) Harrison

(R7 #4) Archer at (R5 #1) Alpharetta

(R6 #3) Forsyth Central at (R8 #2) Peachtree Ridge

(R4 #4) Grayson at (R2 #1) Campbell

(R3 #3) Hillgrove at (R1 #2) Camden County

(R5 #4) Etowah at (R7 #1) Dunwoody

(R8 #3) Collins Hill at (R6 #2) West Forsyth

(R2 #4) McEachern at (R4 #1) Brookwood

(R2 #3) Newnan at (R4 #2) Parkview

(R8 #4) Mountain View at (R6 #1) Denmark

(R7 #3) Meadowcreek at (R5 #2) Roswell

(R1 #4) Colquitt County at (R3 #1) Walton

(R4 #3) South Gwinnett at (R2 #2) East Coweta

(R6 #4) Lambert at (R8 #1) Mill Creek

(R5 #3) Milton at (R7 #2) Norcross

(R3 #4) North Paulding at (R1 #1) Lowndes

Class 5A

*No. 1 team: Chamblee

*2021 champion: Blessed Trinity

*Overview: Top-ranked Chamblee is trying to become the first DeKalb County public school to win a championship since the GHSA first sanctioned a statewide tournament in 1992. The Bulldogs are 16-1-1, with the loss coming against Marist 4-2 in the season-opening game Jan. 25. The tie was a 1-1 contest against Greater Atlanta Christian on March 17. Their most significant victory is likely a 3-1 win against No. 4 St. Pius on March 25. Chamblee’s road to the final will be difficult, with potential matchups in the quarterfinals with defending champion and No. 2-ranked Blessed Trinity and in the semifinals against No. 3 McIntosh.

*Worth noting: McIntosh and St. Pius are second in GHSA history with 12 girls soccer state championships each. Both won their most recent titles in 2019. St. Pius defeated McIntosh 3-1 in the semifinals last season before losing to Blessed Trinity 2-1 in the final.

*First-round matchups:

(R1 #3) Ware County at (R3 #2) Forest Park

(R7 #4) Woodland-Cartersville at (R5 #1) Chamblee

(R6 #3) Jackson-Atlanta at (R8 #2) Loganville

(R4 #4) Jones County at (R2 #1) McIntosh

(R3 #3) Creekside at (R1 #2) Coffee

(R5 #4) Clarkston at (R7 #1) Blessed Trinity

(R8 #3) Greenbrier at (R6 #2) Villa Rica

(R2 #4) Northgate at (R4 #1) Ola

(R2 #3) Northside-Columbus at (R4 #2) Union Grove

(R8 #4) Eastside at (R6 #1) Midtown

(R7 #3) Cartersville at (R5 #2) St. Pius

(R1 #4) Wayne County at (R3 #1) Woodward Academy

(R4 #3) Dutchtown at (R2 #2) Starr’s Mill

(R6 #4) Chapel Hill at (R8 #1) Jackson County

(R5 #3) Decatur at (R7 #2) Calhoun

(R3 #4) Tri-Cities at (R1 #1) Veterans

Class 3A

*No. 1 team: Westminster

*2021 champion: Westminster

*Overview: As usual, top-ranked Westminster (14-1) is the overwhelming favorite. The Wildcats are going for a state-record seventh consecutive state championship and 15th overall. Westminster’s top challenger figures to be second-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian, which lost to the Wildcats 6-2 in region play on March 3. The Wildcats also have victories over four other teams ranked in the top five in their classifications – 7A Walton (4-0), 5A St. Pius (6-1), 4A Marist (6-0) and 2A Lovett (6-1). Their only loss came against Class 5A No. 2 Blessed Trinity, 3-0 on March 15. Westminster defeated Greater Atlanta Christian 7-0 in the state final last season.

*Worth noting: Greater Atlanta Christian is the only other team in the Class 3A field that has ever won a state championship (2012, 2014 and 2015 in Class 2A). Oconee County, currently ranked No. 6, and No. 8 Pike County lost in the semifinals last season.

*First-round matchups:

(R1 #3) Long County at (R3 #2) Southeast Bulloch

(R7 #4) East Forsyth at (R5 #1) Westminster

(R6 #3) Coahulla Creek at (R8 #2) East Jackson

(R4 #4) Thomson at (R2 #1) Jackson

(R3 #3) Liberty County at (R1 #2) Appling County

(R5 #4) Cedar Grove at (R7 #1) Cherokee Bluff

(R8 #3) Stephens County at (R6 #2) Ringgold

(R2 #4) Crisp County at (R4 #1) Morgan County

(R2 #3) Mary Persons at (R4 #2) Richmond Academy

(R8 #4) Monroe Area at (R6 #1) Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe

(R7 #3) White County at (R5 #2) Greater Atlanta Christian

(R1 #4) Brantley County at (R3 #1) Savannah Arts Academy

(R4 #3) Harlem at (R2 #2) Pike County

(R6 #4) North Murray at (R8 #1) Oconee County

(R5 #3) Sandy Creek at (R7 #2) Lumpkin County

(R3 #4) Windsor Forest at (R1 #1) Pierce County

Class A Private

*No. 1 team: Pinecrest Academy

*2021 champion: Holy Innocents’

*Overview: Holy Innocents’ (12-2-3) is seeking to become the first Class A school to win consecutive championships since First Presbyterian did it in 2011 and 2012. The Golden Bears defeated Pinecrest Academy 2-1 in last year’s final, and there’s a good chance those two could meet for the title again as they sit in the top two spots in the rankings. No. 1 Pinecrest Academy (15-2) lost to 3A No. 2 Greater Atlanta Christian in the second game of the season and to 6A No. 1 Buford in the regular-season finale. The Paladins won 14 straight in between, including a 1-0 victory over Holy Innocents’ on Feb. 17.

*Worth noting: Third-ranked Wesleyan and No. 8 First Presbyterian have combined to win five of the 10 championships since Class A was split off from 2A/A in 2011. First Presbyterian won in 2011, 2012 and 2018, while Wesleyan won in 2017 and 2019.

*First-round matchups:

(R1 #3) Mount de Sales at (R3 #2) Savannah Country Day

(R7 #4) Darlington at (R5 #1) Holy Innocents’

(R6 #3) Lakeview Academy at (R8 #2) George Walton Academy

(R4 #4) Heritage-Newnan at (R2 #1) Paideia

(R3 #3) Calvary Day at (R1 #2) First Presbyterian

(R5 #4) Atlanta International (R7 #1) Mount Paran Christian

(R8 #3) Prince Avenue Christian at (R6 #2) Fellowship Christian

(R2 #4) Eagle’s Landing Christian at (R4 #1) Brookstone

(R2 #3) Landmark Christian at (R4 #2) Trinity Christian

(R6 #1) Pinecrest Academy bye

(R7 #3) Walker (R5 #2) Wesleyan

(R1 #4) Strong Rock Christian at (R3 #1) St. Vincent’s Academy

(R4 #3) St. Anne-Pacelli at (R2 #2) Whitefield Academy

(R6 #4) Mount Pisgah Christian at (R8 #1) Athens Academy

(R5 #3) Mount Vernon at (R7 #2) North Cobb Christian

(R3 #4) Savannah Christian at (R1 #1) Stratford Academy

Class A Public

*No. 1 team: Social Circle

*2021 champion: Atlanta Classical Academy

*Overview: ACE Charter and Atlanta Classical, the past two Class A Public champions, enter the tournament as top-10 teams and region champions and could be in position to make deep runs in the playoffs. The teams to watch, however, are Region 8 rivals Social Circle and Commerce. Both are 17-1 overall, with their only losses coming against each other, and they hold the top two spots in the rankings. No. 2 Commerce won 5-4 at Commerce on Feb. 7, but No. 1 Social Circle evened the score with a 3-1 victory at home on March 10. Commerce was ranked No. 1 going into last year’s tournament but lost to eventual champ Atlanta Classical in Round 2.

*Worth noting: Seven teams have first-round byes because some regions do not have four playoff teams. Screven County, Claxton, McIntosh County Academy and Metter of Region 3 and Chattahoochee County, ACE Charter and Crawford County have advanced.

*First-round matchups:

(R3 #2) Claxton bye

(R5 #1) Chattahoochee County bye

(R6 #3) Trion at (R8 #2) Commerce

(R4 #4) Montgomery County at (R2 #1) Atkinson County

(R3 #3) McIntosh County Academy bye

(R7 #1) ACE Charter bye

(R8 #3) Towns County at (R6 #2) Armuchee

(R2 #4) Lanier County at (R4 #1) Treutlen

(R2 #3) Echols County at (R4 #2) Johnson County

(R8 #4) Lake Oconee Academy at (R6 #1) Atlanta Classical Academy

(R7 #3) Georgia Military at (R5 #2) Manchester

(R3 #1) Screven County bye

(R4 #3) Dublin at (R2 #2) Irwin County

(R6 #4) Drew Charter at (R8 #1) Social Circle

(R7 #2) Crawford County bye

(R3 #4) Metter bye