All Fayette finals in AAAA state soccer playoffs

Thu, 05/10/2007 - 9:32am
By: Michael Boylan

By Saturday evening, two local schools will add their 2007 varsity soccer teams to the GHSA record books as this year’s AAAA state champion.

The Whitewater and Starr’s Mill girls game at Whitewater on Friday night at 7 p.m. will be a rematch of a game played on March 9. The Lady Wildcats (14-6-1), ranked fourth in AAAA, won 2-1 that day and have gone 10-6 since, facing 10 opponents ranked in the top 10 of their respective classifications since then. The road to the finals saw Whitewater hand losses to Lakeside, Evans, 3-0, Lee County, 3-2, Lakeside, DeKalb, 4-2 and McIntosh 1-0. Erin Emerson scored the lone goal for Whitewater on Tuesday evening.

Starr’s Mill (15-3-1), ranked sixth in AAAA, has gone 11-1-1 since that loss and have faced six ranked opponents since then. Their road to the finals might have been the toughest in the AAAA playoffs. They opened with a 3-2 win over the fifth ranked Greenbrier Lady Wolf Pack, followed by a 10-0 win over Thomas County Central, a 2-0 win over Chapel Hill and a 3-2 win over the top ranked Marist team.

Starr’s Mill goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud has led the team to nine shutouts, while Whitewater keeper Lisa Wilson has recorded eight shutouts. Among the dozens of fantastic players to watch in this game are Katrina Frost, Carlie Banks and Laura McCalla for Starr’s Mill and Emerson, Emily Culbreth and Bailey Powell for Whitewater.

The McIntosh Chiefs (20-0-2) took on Whitewater (15-5-1) on March 16 and won 1-0. They will play for the state championship at McIntosh on Saturday at noon. McIntosh has won 11 straight games since then, four of which were over ranked opponents, The road to the finals saw the Chiefs beat Glynn Academy 3-0, Baldwin, 3-2, St. Pius, 1-0 in shootout and Greenbrier, Evans, 3-2. Cameron Black scored all three goals in Wednesday’s win over Greenbrier.

Since their loss to McIntosh, Whitewater has gone 12-2-1, going 4-1-1 against opponents ranked in the top 10 in the state. The road to the finals saw the Wildcats defeat Richmond Academy, 2-1, Thomas County Central, 3-0, Marist, 3-1 and Habersham Central, 3-0. Brian Forero, Ryan Pugh and Kyle Weston scored the goals against Habersham.

Both teams are extremely talented all over the field. Whitewater goalkeeper Jordan Cooper has led the team to seven shutouts, while McIntosh goalkeeper Jason McCloskey has recorded 14. Some standouts to keep your eyes on are Black, Derek Farnsworth, Bilal Duckett, and Joaquin Reyes for McIntosh and Pugh, Forero, Daniel Higginbotham and Matt McCrite for Whitewater.

In a recent announcement from the Georgia Soccer Coaches Association, McIntosh and Whitewater players found themselves all over the list of award winners. McIntosh’s McCloskey is AAAA Player of the Year, while Whitewater’s Cooper is AAAA Player of the Month. Whitewater boys coach Shane Pulliam is AAAA Coach of the Year and McIntosh boys coach Bunky Colvin is AAAA Coach of the Month. Whitewater’s Wilson is AAAA Player of the Year for the girls and Whitewater girls coach Heather Allen is AAAA Coach of the Year.

If either of the Whitewater teams win the title game it will be the first in the school’s history. If the McIntosh boys win it will be their third state title and their first since 2000 and if the Starr’s Mill girls win it will be their fifth state title, their second in a row and it would give them at least one title in three different state classifications.

When people look back on this year, they won’t be able to overlook the dominance of the teams from Fayette County and region 2-AAAA. The boys and girls teams from the county were ranked in the top 10 in Class AAAA all season long and McIntosh’s boys have been ranked first in the state for a large part of the season and second in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll for over a month. They have knocked off Greenbrier, Evans, previously ranked seventh in the national poll, twice.

But rankings don’t matter anymore.

Neither do records.

All that is left is 80 minutes of play between two teams that know each other very well.

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Submitted by bowser on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 4:29pm.

Michael, maybe I missed it but could you tell us where the finals games are being played? Thanks

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