First-round playoff previews for classes 6A, 4A and 2A

Credit: GHSA Twitter

Credit: GHSA Twitter

First-round action in the girls soccer state tournaments continues Thursday when Classes 6A, 4A and 2A begin their playoffs.

The 16 winners in each class will advance to the second round, which begins on April 25 at the higher-seeded schools. Champions of the five-round tournaments will be crowned May 7-10 at Mercer University, McEachern High School and Duluth High School.

Here’s a look at the classifications that begin play Thursday.

Class 6A

*No. 1 team: Marist

*2023 champion: Roswell

*Overview: Roswell was a No. 4 seed in last year’s playoffs but won its first state championship, defeating Marist 2-0 in the final to complete a five-game playoff run in which the Hornets allowed just one goal. The two teams could meet again in this year’s final, as Marist is ranked No. 1 and Roswell is No. 2 and they are on different sides of the bracket. Marist is 13-1-1, its only loss coming against state powerhouse Westminster 3-1 two weeks ago. The War Eagles have won 11 state championships (fourth-most in state history), most recently in 2022 in Class 4A. Roswell (12-3-1) faces a tough first-round matchup against No. 9 Creekview (14-3).

*Worth noting: Although Roswell is ranked higher in the AJC poll, Pope is the No. 2 team in the MaxPreps and Girls Soccer Coaches rankings and is the Region 7 champion, one spot ahead of Roswell. Pope lost to Roswell in the 2023 semifinals but beat the Hornets 2-0 in the regular season this year.

*First-round matchups:

(R4 #3) St. Pius at (R1 #2) Veterans

(R3 #4) Mundy’s Mill at (R2 #1) Glynn Academy

(R7 #3) Lassiter at (R6 #2) River Ridge

(R8 #4) Lanier at (R5 #1) Alexander

(R1 #3) Houston County at (R4 #2) North Atlanta

(R2 #4) Evans at (R3 #1) Woodward Academy

(R6 #3) Creekview at (R7 #2) Roswell

(R5 #4) Paulding County at (R8 #1) Habersham Central

(R5 #3) Newnan at (R8 #2) Jackson County

(R6 #4) Etowah at (R7 #1) Pope

(R2 #3) Grovetown at (R3 #2) Rockdale County

(R1 #4) Lee County at (R4 #1) Marist

(R8 #3) Gainesville at (R5 #2) South Paulding

(R7 #4) Johns Creek at (R6 #1) Allatoona

(R3 #3) Alcovy at (R2 #2) Lakeside-Evans

(R4 #4) Riverwood at (R1 #1) Thomas County Central

Class 4A

*No. 1 team: Lovett

*2023 champion: Westminster

*Overview: The champion is likely to come from the top three teams in the rankings – Lovett, Starr’s Mill and Westminster, who have combined to win 27 state championships. Westminster’s eight consecutive titles and 16 overall championships are the most in GHSA history in the sport, which held its first tournament in 1992. Westminster and Lovett have difficult potential second-round matchups. Westminster could face No. 8 Pace Academy, and Lovett might face No. 5 Holy Innocents’. Starr’s Mill’s first game against a ranked opponent will come no earlier than the quarterfinals, against No. 7 North Oconee or No. 9 Northwest Whitfield.

*Worth noting: Keep an eye on North Oconee. The Titans (10-4-1) were state champions in 2021, reached the semifinals in 2022 and lost to Westminster 2-1 in the state final last season. North Oconee, the No. 2 seed from Region 8, open the playoffs against Luella.

*First-round matchups:

(R4 #3) Trinity Christian at (R1 #2) Shaw

(R3 #4) New Hampstead at (R2 #1) Perry

(R7 #3) Heritage-Catoosa at (R6 #2) Holy Innocents’

(R8 #4) Seckinger at (R5 #1) Lovett

(R1 #3) Cairo at (R4 #2) Whitewater

(R2 #4) Baldwin at (R3 #1) Islands

(R6 #3) Druid Hills at (R7 #2) Southeast Whitfield

(R5 #4) Hampton at (R8 #1) Cherokee Bluff

(R5 #3) Luella at (R8 #2) North Oconee

(R6 #4) Clarkston at (R7 #1) Northwest Whitfield

(R2 #3) Spalding at (R3 #2) Southeast Bulloch

(R1 #4) Hardaway at (R4 #1) Starr’s Mill

(R8 #3) Johnson-Gainesville at (R5 #2) Pace Academy

(R7 #4) Sonoraville at (R6 #1) Westminster

(R3 #3) Wayne County at (R2 #2) West Laurens

(R4 #4) LaGrange at (R1 #1) Bainbridge

Class 2A

*No. 1 team: Model

*2023 champion: Fellowship Christian

*Overview: Although three sources have the top teams ranked in different orders, the consensus is that Model, Fellowship Christian and Fitzgerald are the teams to beat. Fellowship Christian defeated Athens Academy in last year’s final for its first championship since 2016. The Paladins also defeated Fitzgerald in the semifinals after Fitzgerald knocked out Model in the quarterfinals. Fellowship Christian (8-3-2) has the worst record of the three this year but has played the toughest schedule, according to MaxPreps, losing to Class 5A No. 9 Chamblee, Class 5A No. 3 Cambridge, and Class 6A No. 10 River Ridge. Model is 17-1, and Fitzgerald is 15-2-1.

*Worth noting: No public school has ever won a 2A title. Fellowship Christian, Mount Paran Christian and Savannah Arts are the only ranked private-school teams, but all are in the top five. Next year, private schools in classes A through 3A will play for a separate title.

*First-round matchups:

(R4 #3) Johnson-Augusta at (R1 #2) Worth County

(R3 #4) Appling County at (R2 #1) ACE Charter

(R7 #3) Murray County at (R6 #2) Walker

(R8 #4) Providence Christian at (R5 #1) Landmark Christian

(R1 #3) Dodge County at (R4 #2) Washington County

(R2 #4) Spencer at (R3 #1) Pierce County

(R6 #3) North Cobb Christian at (R7 #2) Fannin County

(R5 #4) Towers at (R8 #1) Fellowship Christian

(R5 #3) Elite Scholars Academy at (R8 #2) Athens Academy

(R6 #4) Drew Charter at (R7 #1) Model

(R2 #3) Central-Macon at (R3 #2) Savannah Arts

(R1 #4) Jeff Davis at (R4 #1) Putnam County

(R8 #3) East Jackson at (R5 #2) Callaway

(R7 #4) Gordon Central at (R6 #1) Mount Paran Christian

(R3 #3) Toombs County at (R2 #2) Rutland

(R4 #4) Thomson at (R1 #1) Fitzgerald