The soccer state finals will be played this weekend at Kennesaw State University and the University of West Georgia. Here is a primer on each of the 12 championship matches:
Class AAAAAA, Berkmar vs. Collins Hill: This battle between Gwinnett County schools also is a war between the haves and have-nots in the world of soccer. Collins Hill is in its sixth consecutive title game and has won three of the past four state titles. This is Berkmar’s first finals appearance.
Class AAAAA, Houston County vs. McIntosh: Houston County is in its first state final in any boys sport. Saloman Lorenzano of McIntosh was named the Gatorade Georgia Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Class AAAA, Dalton vs. Southeast Whitfield: This is an all-Whitfield County showdown between the Region 7 rivals.
Class AAA, St. Pius vs. Woodward Academy: The programs have combined to win 12 boys state soccer titles, including the past two in AAA. Woodward won last year’s state title, but lost 10 players to college programs. St. Pius, the 2011 champion, is in its third finals in five years.
Class AA, Calhoun vs. Westminster: While the Wildcats have won 10 state titles, Calhoun is playing for its first.
Class A, Hebron Christian vs. Paideia: The winner of this game will have captured its first boys state soccer title. Eli Pinner has led Paideia with 40 goals in his career
Class AAAAAA, Harrison vs. Parkview: This is Harrison’s third finals appearance in six years. Parkview has won seven state titles, with the most recent coming in 2009.
Class AAAAA, Northgate vs. Whitewater: Northgate arrives on the heels of two consecutive dramatic one-goal wins. Teegan Van Gunst, the Gatorade Georgia Volleyball Player of the Year and a Georgia Tech volleyball signee, leads Whitewater.
Class AAAA, Columbus vs. Marist: Columbus arrives in the state final for the second year in a row. Marist, seven-time state champ, has outscored the competition 35-0 thus far in the playoffs.
Class AAA, Blessed Trinity vs. St. Pius: Forward Grace Damaska, a Georgetown signee, leads Blessed Trinity. Oddly enough, the Region 6 rivals each won state titles in 2011: the Golden Lions in AAA and Titans in AA. Each program has won five state titles.
Class AA, Greater Atlanta Christian vs. Westminster: As in AAA, the AA final features teams from the same region. GAC won both regular-season meetings with Westminster, the first 5-1 on April 2 and the second 2-1 on April 23.
Class A, Fellowship Christian vs. Paideia: Paideia qualified for the finals after a narrow 2-1 win over two-time defending champion First Presbyterian. The Pythons have won two state titles, while Fellowship Christian is hunting its first state soccer championship.
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