Girls soccer blog: Westminster extends its reign; 6 schools win first titles

Chamblee players and coaches celebrate their 9-0 victory over Greenbrier in the Class 5A girls soccer championship game on May 4, 2023, and Duluth HIgh School.

Credit: Mark Brock / DeKalb County Schools

Credit: Mark Brock / DeKalb County Schools

Chamblee players and coaches celebrate their 9-0 victory over Greenbrier in the Class 5A girls soccer championship game on May 4, 2023, and Duluth HIgh School.

Each of the eight teams that won state championships in the GHSA girls soccer finals last week made a bit of history in its own way.

Westminster extended its state records for consecutive and overall state titles. Fellowship Christian won its second state title but capped off its first unbeaten season. And six teams won their first championships, including Chamblee, which essentially won its first state title for the second consecutive season.

Here’s a recap of the tournament finals, which were played Tuesday through Friday at McEachern High School, Duluth High School and Mercer University.

Westminster, playing up in Class 4A for the first time after reclassification, won its eighth consecutive and 16th overall state title, easily the most in a sport that played its first championship in 1992. The Wildcats won this year’s tournament with a 2-1 victory over top-ranked North Oconee in the final. Kiera Staude gave Westminster a 1-0 lead midway through the first half, and Allie Ross’s goal early in the second made it 2-0 and stood up as the game-winner. Ross, last year’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution player of the year, finished the year with 63 goals, including 18 of her team’s 27 in the playoffs, and 26 assists.

The loss was the first of the season for North Oconee, which was seeking its second title in three years.

Chamblee appeared to become the first DeKalb County public school to win a state championship when it won the Class 5A tournament in 2022, but the Bulldogs were later stripped of the title over reported GHSA rules violations. Not to be deterred, the Bulldogs went back to work and came back more dominant than ever, rolling past Greenbrier 9-0 in the 2023 final to make it official this time.

Kara Croone, Ansley Harrison and Alessandra Washington gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead, and Solai Washington scored four goals and Cameron Pfau added two to put the game away. Of that group, only Pfau is a senior. Chamblee completed the season 21-0-1 and outscored its opponents 145-8, including 37-3 in the playoffs.

Denmark claimed its first championship and Forsyth County’s fourth title in the highest classification in seven seasons by defeating Walton in penalty kicks. The Danes outscored Walton 4-2 on PKs after the teams were scoreless at the end of regulation and overtime. Walton, seeking its first championship since 1993, knocked out two-time defending champion West Forsyth 3-0 in the first round.

Roswell became the only No. 4 seed to win a state championship this season when it defeated top-ranked Marist 2-0 in the Class 6A final. The Hornets’ Maya Misawa and Rachel Phifer scored the game’s only goals about a minute apart in the first six minutes of the second half. Roswell was seeded behind Pope, Blessed Trinity and defending 6A champion Lassiter in rugged Region 7, but all four teams finished within a game of each other in the standings. The Hornets knocked off Pope 4-0 in the semifinals before handing Marist its only loss of the season. Marist won the Class 4A championship last year before moving up to 6A.

Top-ranked Oconee County of Class 3A captured its first championship with a 3-1 victory over Bremen. Perrin Pennington gave Oconee County a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game, but Danilyn Sheats pulled Bremen even about two minutes into the second half. Oconee’s Kylie Wilson took over from there, scoring with 28:57 and 18:58 remaining to provide the final margin. Oconee County lost two of its final three regular-season games, against Athens Academy and North Oconee by one goal each, but recovered in time to roll past Dawson County (5-1), Adairsville (10-0), Savannah Country Day (4-0) and Wesleyan (2-0) on the way to the final.

Fellowship Christian completed its first perfect season when it defeated Athens Academy 5-1 in the Class 2A final to finish 19-0. Tied 0-0 at halftime, the Paladins got two second-half goals from Kelly Rodman and one each from Rachel Williamson, Ally Hardin and Avery Paulson. Fellowship Christian beat Athens Academy 4-0 in the regular season in a game that decided the Region title.

Fellowship Christian was the only champion other than Westminster that had won a previous title. The Paladins’ first came in 2016. Those are the only two GHSA titles in any sport in school history.

In Class A Division I, Mount Vernon won its first GHSA championship in any sport when it defeated Paideia 3-1. Eva-Jean Young gave Paideia a 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the first half, but Mount Vernon got goals from Taylor Keller (13:56) and Eden Wassersug (0:02) in the final 14 minutes of the half to take the lead for good. Keller put the game away with her second goal with 1:42 remaining in the game. Paideia, seeking its first title since 2013, won 6-2 when the teams met on March 17 in the game that ultimately decided the Region 6 championship.

Aquinas of Class A Division II won its first championship and completed a 14-0 season with a 5-2 victory over area rival Towns County. Aquinas outscored Towns County 3-0 in overtime to pull away. Caroline Jackson had three goals for the Fightin’ Irish, including one in each of the overtime periods. Aquinas also got goals from Landry Washington and Elle Morris.

Aquinas was the No. 1 seed and Towns County was the No. 3 from Area 3, which put three teams in the semifinals. Towns County avenged a regular-season loss to No. 2 seed Lake Oconee County with a 1-0 victory in the semifinals.