Augusta Prep and crosstown rival Westminster field exceptional girls' soccer teams this season, but Thursday's close contest did little to determine which is stronger.
Westminster managed to edge past Augusta Prep 3-2 after a double overtime, showing fans just why the two teams are considered the best in the Region 4-AAA and among the top five in the state Georgia Independent School Association league.
Westminster's Margaret Houston scored in the first half with a breakaway, then Augusta Augusta Prep's Lea Xenakis evened things in the second half when she took advantage of a pass from teammate Monica Ploetzke.
Tiffany Hedrick added another goal for Prep when Xenakis' corner kick went to Ploetzke, then to Hedrick, who was ready at the back post.
In the waning minutes of the game, Westminster's Rachel Harper entered a scramble in front of the goal and scored, sending the two teams into overtime. During the second overtime period, Houston scored and ended an intense afternoon of soccer between two closely matched teams.
"This was a very competitive game. Our players were magnificent in their effort and sportsmanship," said Augusta Prep Coach Doug Williamson.
"They were a worthy opponent," said Westminster Coach Kian Brownlee.
The teams each have excellent records, with 10 wins for Prep and 12 for Westminster. Each has 3 losses and two ties for the season.
The teams will meet again Tuesday in a key game that will determine first place in the region.
Beyond regionals, each team would like a chance to take on powerhouse Stratford of Macon, who has won the GISA state title eight consecutive years. Williams is depending on his senior captains to lead the way.
Xenakis, a forward who has already signed with Berry College, has scored 34 goals in 15 games this year, breaking her own record from last season. She is edging close to the assist record as well, with 20 so far this year.
Midfielder Callan Cudd provides stability and strength in midfield, and has added six goals and 16 assists this season.
Prep defender Mobley Moss consistently protects the goal and gives leadership on and off the field.
The Westminster team has plenty of depth on its side, Brownlee said. "All the kids this year can really play."
Brownlee is counting on a strong defense anchored by goalkeeper Mary Rob Plunkett, and plenty of offensive power too. Charlotte Boyd has put in 14 goals so far this year, Ann Pollard has contributed 11, and Houston has 15.
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