High-profile matchups headline second round of girls soccer playoffs


Top-seeded teams dominated last week in the first round of the girls soccer state playoffs and all eight defending champions moved into the second round, which begins Tuesday night with games at the higher-seeded schools.

The state’s 56 region champions, seeded No. 1 and playing at home in the first round, went 48-8 (86%). Class 7A’s region champions – Richmond Hill, Campbell, Hillgrove, Brookwood, Walton, West Forsyth, North Gwinnett and Buford – completed an 8-0 sweep of the No. 4 seeds. The closest call was Region 7 champion North Gwinnett’s 2-1 victory over Lambert.

The Class A Division II bracket is made up of the top six teams from each of four areas, with the top two teams from each area receiving a bye into the second round.

Defending state champions Denmark, Roswell, Chamblee, Westminster, Oconee County, Fellowship Christian and Mount Vernon outscored their first-round opponents by a combined 56-5. Class A Division II champion Aquinas had a first-round bye.

The action will heat up in the second round with several high-profile matchups. Here are 10 of the best:

*Denmark at Walton (Class 7A): This is a rematch of last year’s state championship game, which Denmark won 4-2 in penalty kicks after the teams had played a scoreless match. It was the first state title for Denmark. Walton won its only championship in 1993 but has been a consistent title contender. Denmark defeated Duluth 4-1 in the first round last week. Walton beat Collins Hill 5-0.

*Harrison at Brookwood (Class 7A): Both teams are in the top five of the AJC/Score Atlanta rankings, and both have won multiple state titles – Harrison in 2011, 2014 and 2017, and Brookwood in 1998 and 2003. No. 2 Harrison defeated No. 5 Brookwood 3-2 when the teams met on Feb. 6. Harrison defeated Carrollton 10-0 in the first round, while Brookwood eliminated Colquitt County 12-0.

*Greater Atlanta Christian at Midtown (Class 5A): These teams are among the top four ranked teams in 5A. No. 2 Midtown (12-2-2), seeking its first state title, went 8-0 in region play to win the Region 5 championship. No. 4 GAC (13-3-1) fell to a No. 2 seed when it lost to third-ranked Cambridge 3-1 in a match that decided first place in Region 6. The Spartans have won three state titles.

*McIntosh at Chamblee (Class 5A): Ninth-ranked Chamblee won the past two Class 5A tournaments (although its 2022 state title was later vacated) and has won 11 straight playoff games, including a 10-0 victory over Coffee last week. No. 7 McIntosh has won 12 championships, most recently in 2019. That’s tied with St. Pius for second-most titles in GHSA history behind Westminster’s 16.

*Holy Innocents’ at Lovett (Class 4A): This game between top-five teams in the class is a rematch of their April 3 game, which top-ranked Lovett won 4-0 on its way to a 16-0 regular season. The Lions, have won five state championships, including the 2A title in 2022 before moving up in reclassification. Lovett and Holy Innocents’ (ranked No. 5) both lost in the semifinals in last season.

*Pace Academy at Westminster (Class 4A): Third-ranked Westminster’s quest for a ninth consecutive state championship and 17th overall title continues with a second-round matchup against No. 8 Pace Academy. Westminster beat Sonoraville 10-0 in the first round, and Pace Academy beat Johnson-Gainesville 2-1. Pace Academy finished second in Region 5 behind top-ranked Lovett.

*Lumpkin County at Oconee County (Class 3A): Last year, Oconee County became the first public school to win a 3A title since Allatoona in 2012. The Warriors, ranked No. 1, are playing this season under first-year coach Judson Hamby, who led Parkview to five state titles from 2007 to 2022. No. 5 Lumpkin County, seeking its first title, is 11-1-1, its only loss coming to No. 2 Wesleyan.

*Athens Academy at Model (Class 2A): Model (18-1) is ranked No. 1, has outscored its opponents 133-2 and brings a 17-game winning streak into the second round. Athens Academy is unranked but reached the state championship game last season (against Fellowship Christian) and finished second behind Fellowship in Region 8 this season. Both teams are seeking their first state title.

*Mount Vernon at Tallulah Falls (Class A Division I): Of the defending state champions, Mount Vernon had the closest call in the first round, advancing with a 4-3 victory over Trion. The Mustangs, No. 5 in the rankings but a No. 3 seed from their region, figure to have an even tougher challenge in the second round when they travel to sixth-ranked Tallulah Falls, the Region 8 champion.

*Whitefield Academy at Social Circle (Class A Division I): This game matches two of the three top-ranked teams in the class. No. 1 Social Circle won its first state title in 2022 and reached the semifinals last season. No. 3 Whitefield Academy, seeking its first state title, has won seven consecutive matches since a 1-0 loss to No. 2 Paideia, which defeated Social Circle in the semifinals last season.

Second-round matchups:

(Games beginning Tuesday)

Class 7A

(R1 #2) Lowndes at (R2 #1) Campbell

(R6 #2) Denmark at (R5 #1) Walton

(R1 #3) Camden County at (R3 #1) Hillgrove

(R6 #3) Milton at (R8 #1) Buford

(R8 #2) Mill Creek at (R7 #1) North Gwinnett

(R3 #2) Harrison at (R4 #1) Brookwood

(R8 #3) Mountain View at (R6 #1) West Forsyth

(R3 #3) North Paulding at (R1 #1) Richmond Hill

Class 5A

(R3 #4) Northside-Columbus at (R4 #3) Tucker

(R6 #2) Greater Atlanta Christian at (R5 #1) Midtown

(R4 #2) Decatur at (R3 #1) Northgate

(R6 #3) Chattahoochee at (R8 #1) Jefferson

(R6 #4) Northview at (R8 #2) Loganville

(R3 #2) McIntosh at (R4 #1) Chamblee

(R8 #3) Clarke Central at (R6 #1) Cambridge

(R3 #3) Harris County at (R1 #1) Greenbrier

Class 3A

(R4 #3) Harlem at (R2 #1) Pike County

(R8 #4) Stephens County at (R7 #3) Dawson County

(R4 #2) Morgan County at (R3 #1) Savannah Country Day

(R7 #2) Lumpkin County at (R8 #1) Oconee County

(R8 #2) Hebron Christian at (R7 #1) Wesleyan

(R3 #2) St. Vincent’s at (R4 #1) Richmond Academy

(R8 #3) Monroe Area at (R6 #1) Bremen

(R2 #2) Mary Persons at (R1 #1) Columbus

Class A Division I

(R1 #2) Irwin County at (R2 #1) East Laurens

(R6 #2) Whitefield Academy at (R5 #1) Social Circle

(R4 #2) Temple at (R3 #1) Metter

(R6 #3) Mount Vernon at (R8 #1) Tallulah Falls

(R6 #4) Atlanta International at (R8 #2) Rabun County

(R3 #2) Bryan County at (R4 #1) Lamar County

(R5 #2) Oglethorpe County at (R6 #1) Paideia

(R2 #2) Bleckley County at (R1 #1) Bacon County

Class A Division II

(A4 #3) Mt. Zion-Carroll at (A3 #2) Aquinas

(A3 #4) GMC Prep at (A2 #1) Portal

(A3 #3) Towns County at (A4 #2) Christian Heritage

(A1 #5) Echols County at (A1 #1) Hawkinsville

(A1 #3) Dooly County at (A2 #2) Wheeler County

(A3 #5) Lincoln County at (A3 #1) Lake Oconee Academy

(A2 #3) Johnson County at (A1 #2) Atkinson County

(A1 #4) Chattahoochee County at (A4 #1) Atlanta Classical

(Games beginning Thursday)

Class 6A

(R4 #3) St. Pius at (R2 #1) Glynn Academy

(R7 #3) Lassiter at (R5 #1) Alexander

(R4 #2) North Atlanta at (R3 #1) Woodward Academy

(R7 #2) Roswell at (R8 #1) Habersham Central

(R8 #2) Jackson County at (R7 #1) Pope

(R2 #3) Grovetown at (R4 #1) Marist

(R7 #4) Johns Creek at (R8 #3) Gainesville

(R4 #4) Riverwood at (R2 #2) Lakeside-Evans

Class 4A

(R4 #3) Trinity Christian at (R2 #1) Perry

(R6 #2) Holy Innocents’ at (R5 #1) Lovett

(R4 #2) Whitewater at (R3 #1) Islands

(R7 #2) Southeast Whitfield at (R8 #1) Cherokee Bluff

(R8 #2) North Oconee at (R7 #1) Northwest Whitfield

(R3 #2) Southeast Bulloch at (R4 #1) Starr’s Mill

(R5 #2) Pace Academy at (R6 #1) Westminster

(R4 #4) LaGrange at (R3 #3) Wayne County

Class 2A

(R1 #2) Worth County at (R2 #1) ACE Charter

(R6 #2) Walker at (R5 #1) Landmark Christian

(R1 #3) Dodge County at (R3 #1) Pierce County

(R7 #2) Fannin County at (R8 #1) Fellowship Christian

(R8 #2) Athens Academy at (R7 #1) Model

(R1 #4) Jeff Davis at (R3 #2) Savannah Arts

(R8 #3) East Jackson at (R6 #1) Mount Paran Christian

(R3 #3) Toombs County at (R1 #1) Fitzgerald