Girls soccer blog: Preview of this week’s 8 championship games

Two reigning champions and 10 programs seeking their first titles will be among the 16 teams competing this week in the GHSA girls soccer state championship games.

The state finals will be held Tuesday through Friday at McEachern High School, Mercer University and Duluth High School, beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday with Class A Division I (at Mercer) and Class A Division II (at McEachern).

Here is a look at the championship matchups:

Class 7A: Denmark vs. Walton (5 p.m. Friday at Duluth)

This is a rematch of a 2022 quarterfinal match, which Walton won 2-1 in overtime to spoil Denmark’s perfect season. Fourth-ranked Walton has defeated two-time defending champion West Forsyth, second-ranked Buford, No. 6 Harrison and No. 5 Forsyth Central on its road to the final. Reagan Mulberry scored the game-winner against Forsyth Central with 1:39 remaining in the second overtime. No. 8 Denmark has defeated Kennesaw Mountain, No. 10 Norcross, Richmond Hill and No. 9 Campbell in the playoffs. Walton is seeking its first state title since winning the all-classification tournament in 1993. Denmark is seeking its first title.

Class 6A: Roswell vs. Marist (5 p.m. Friday at McEachern)

Marist won the Class 4A championship in 2022 before jumping to 6A during reclassification. It was the 11th title in program history, fourth-most in GHSA history. The top-ranked War Eagles are 18-0-2, their ties coming against Class 5A finalist Chamblee and quarterfinalist Cambridge in February. Marist’s closest game in the playoffs was a 2-0 victory over defending champion Lassiter in the semifinals. Tenth-ranked Roswell, seeking its first state title, is the only No. 4 seed remaining in any classification. The Hornets won four road playoff games against Jackson County, River Ridge, No. 6 St. Pius and No. 4 Pope by a combined score of 14-1.

Class 5A: Greenbrier vs. Chamblee (5 p.m. Thursday at Duluth)

Top-ranked Chamblee became the first DeKalb County public school to win a girls soccer championship when it defeated Midtown in the 5A final last year, but that title was vacated the following week after reported GHSA rules violations. The Bulldogs are on a mission to bring home a first “official” title this year. They defeated Midtown 3-0 in the semifinals last week. Solai Washington (38), Kara Croone (26) and Ansley Harrison (16) have combined for 80 of the team’s 136 goals. No. 6 Greenbrier, also seeking its first championship, is 19-0 and has allowed just four goals this season. Natalie Heckathorn leads the Wolfpack with 34 goals.

Class 4A: North Oconee vs. Westminster (5 p.m. Thursday at McEachern)

Westminster won the past seven championships in Class 3A and has 15 titles overall, the most in the sport’s history, but is playing in 4A for the first time. The fifth-ranked Wildcats (17-3) advanced to the final with a 3-2 victory over rival Lovett last week. Allie Ross has scored 17 of her team’s 25 goals in the playoffs. She has 62 goals and 25 assists for the season. Top-ranked North Oconee won the Class 4A title in 2021. The Titans (19-0-2) have outscored their opponents 95-2 this season and have not allowed a goal since a 6-1 victory over Morgan County on Feb. 10. Their two ties came against top-10 Class 7A teams Mill Creek and Hillgrove.

Class 3A: Oconee County vs. Bremen (5 p.m. Wednesday at Mercer)

The winner of this matchup between the No. 1 (Oconee County) and No. 6 (Bremen) teams will be the first public school to win the championship in Class 3A since Allatoona in 2012 and the second overall. Oconee County is 16-4-1, with all of the losses and the tie coming against higher-classification teams, with the exception of a 2-1 loss to Class 2A finalist Athens Academy. Katherine Elliott leads the Warriors with 27 goals, including seven in the team’s four playoff games. Bremen has knocked off No. 3 Morgan County and No. 5 Lumpkin County in the playoffs, but its closest game in the tournament was a 2-1 semifinal victory over St. Vincent’s.

Class 2A: Fellowship Christian vs. Athens Academy (5 p.m. Wednesday at McEachern)

This is a matchup of the top two teams in Region 8 and a rematch of their March 28 regular-season game, which Fellowship Christian won 4-0 to clinch the region title. Top-ranked Fellowship Christian (18-0) has rolled through the playoffs, knocking off Fannin County, Walker, ACE Charter and Fitzgerald by a combined score of 34-0. The Paladins have outscored their opponents 143-4. They won the Class A championship in 2016. Fifth-ranked Athens Academy (12-3-2) has won six consecutive matches by at least four goals each since the loss to Fellowship Christian, allowing just two goals during that stretch. The Spartans are seeking their first title.

Class A Division I: Mount Vernon vs. Paideia (5 p.m. Tuesday at Mercer)

No. 2 Paideia and No. 8 Mount Vernon advanced to the championship game by knocking off the top-ranked team (Commerce lost to Mount Vernon 3-2) and the 2022 Class A Public champion (Social Circle lost to Paideia 6-0). The teams met in a regular-season region game on Feb. 17, with Paideia winning 6-2. Eva Young and Alessia Sacchi scored three goals each. Paideia has won 15 consecutive games since losing to St. Pius 8-1 in the season opener. The Pythons have won three state titles, most recently in 2013. Mount Vernon, seeking its first championship, is 15-2, its other loss coming against Class 2A finalist Fellowship Christian on Feb. 15.

Class A Division II: Towns County vs. Aquinas (5 p.m. Tuesday at McEachern)

Aquinas and Towns County were two of the top-three teams in Area 3 in the regular season. Area champion Aquinas defeated top-ranked McIntosh County Academy 7-0 in the semifinals to improve to 13-0 for the season. Third-place Town County (8-5-1) avenged a regular-season loss when it defeated second-place Lake Oconee Academy in penalty kicks in the semifinals. The Indians will try to duplicate the revenge when they meet Aquinas, which won the regular-season matchup 3-1. Both teams are seeking their first titles.