Greenbrier's Chelsea Mason (center) is congratulated by her teammates Whitney Wise (left) and Stephanie Fransoso after scoring in the first half against Warner Robins on Wednesday.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The soccer playoffs have been a breeze for three Columbia County squads so far. Four other teams have failed to advance past the second round.
The Greenbrier boys team hasn't been tested through two rounds, but breezed to comfortable victories over Sandy Creek (3-1) and Warner Robins (4-1).
The sixth-ranked Wolfpack (12-4-3) played on the road against No. 5 St. Pius X in the state quarterfinals Saturday. Greenbrier is 11-1-2 in its previous 15 games.
Evans also won convincingly in its second round match with Eagle's Landing, 3-1. Senior Sam Giovino scored two goals, and Kevin Burton scored the other goal for Evans.
"I think we are playing strong soccer right now," Giovino said. "We can go far in the playoffs if we play to our potential."
The ninth-ranked Knights became the first team in school history to make it past the second round of the state playoffs.
"This is real special for us," senior Todd Strader said. "It is special to be a part of a team that has done something no one has done before at Evans.
"But we didn't come here to just get this far. We came to win this whole thing. Just like coach said, now we just need to win three straight."
Evans (14-5-1) played host to No. 7 Etowah - a 4-1 winner over Jonesboro - on Saturday for a spot in the Class AAAA final four.
Evans soccer players Sam Giovino (left) and Kevin Burton scored goals for the Knights in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Eagle's Landing in the second round of the state playoffs.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The third-ranked Lady Wolfpack (18-1-1) shut out Warner Robins on Wednesday, 3-0, and hasn't allowed a goal in the playoffs.
"We have won two playoff games and have yet to give up a goal, so that is a positive," said Greenbrier coach Alex Heider. "But we haven't really played to our potential since spring break. We need to get back to playing Greenbrier soccer."
The true test was to come Friday when Greenbrier, which has won 14 in a row, traveled to Atlanta to play defending state champion and second-ranked Marist, which has ended Lakeside's season the past three seasons.
Marist (13-3-4) has outscored its opponents 48-2 over its past seven games and has as much tradition as any soccer program in the state.
The 10th-ranked Harlem girls lost their second-round match to No. 6 Columbus, 8-1.
The Bulldogs (15-4) had another strong season and boasted a number of the area's top scorers with Elissa Botts, Jamie Nevin, Mallory Morgan, Christie Hart and Allie Wilmoth.
Harlem beat Cairo, 10-1, in the first round of the playoffs. All four Bulldog losses came to teams that were ranked at some point in the season.
The Evans girls and Lakeside girls lost in the first round to Whitewater (1-0) and Woodward Academy (3-2), respectively. The Lakeside boys lost to No. 1 McIntosh, 2-0, in the first round.
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