Harlem claimed another regular season Region 3N-AAA championship Thursday night in girls soccer with a 5-0 win at Richmond Academy.
The Harlem boys, also playing for a region championship, never finished the contest. The Bulldogs walked off of the field in the second half, protesting the game after a dispute over a Richmond Academy red card.
For the Lady Bulldogs, the win completed a perfect 7-0 season in region play. Sophomore goalkeeper Megan Morgan made eight saves on the night, while Ashton Leogrande, also a starter on defense, led a Lady Bulldog back line that rarely let the ball into Harlem territory.
After a postgame celebration, Leogrande said the success her team has seen the past four years is unprecedented at Harlem.
"I didn't know what to expect at first, but making it this far all four years is good," she said. "That's a big accomplishment for us."
Harlem sealed the region regular season title with a three-goal performance from midfielder Jamie Nevin.
The senior has seen her team reach the state tournament for the past three years, with a fourth state tournament bid only one win away.
"It's good that we've started to set a trend for the program," Nevin said. "All the hard work has paid off."
Nevin, who leads the team in scoring, doesn't stop with her soccer success. She's also a member of the Harlem tennis team. Although she had never played the game until this school year, Nevin has found the win column in tennis, including an 8-0 region win over Hazel Moses of Cross Creek on Tuesday.
While most coaches would shy away from allowing a high school athlete to play two sports in the same season, Harlem coach George Berry made an exception.
"I'm different," he said. "In high school, a player's senior year is the best year of their life. They should experience as much as they can."
The Harlem boys soccer team experienced a game unlike any other Thursday night at Richmond Academy.
Harlem walked off the field in protest after Richmond Academy scored a goal with 11 men on the field in the first minute of the second half. The Musketeers had played the final three minutes of the first half with 10 men on the field because of a red card.
"That is the rule of the game. We've had to play a man down in the same situation, and that's what they did in the first half," Harlem coach Evans Johns said.
Eleven Richmond Academy players took the field in the second half, and the team scored while Johns tried to alert officials.
A meeting of officials and coaches at midfield brought more debate until a Harlem fan offered a rule book. That's when Johns and the Bulldogs walked off the field.
"We have the game tape, and I will write the GHSA and tell them about the protest," he said.
In a phone interview Friday morning, Georgia High School Association Executive Director Ralph Swearngin said the game is being reviewed.
"There are no protests, but we are in the process of waiting for written responses from Harlem, Richmond Academy and the officials at the game," he said.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.