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.

Credit: Mark Brock / DeKalb County Schools

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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.

Credit: Mark Brock / DeKalb County Schools

Credit: Mark Brock / DeKalb County Schools

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

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