Lady Hoyas streak into playoffs
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
April 30, 2013 12:28 AM | 1710 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Savannah Vanderbeck and the Harrison girls, now two years removed from 
winning state title, the goal is to make it back to the top.
<Br>Staff file photo
Savannah Vanderbeck and the Harrison girls, now two years removed from winning state title, the goal is to make it back to the top.
Staff file photo
slideshow
The Harrison girls are clicking on all cylinders heading into the Class AAAAAA state soccer tournament.

The top-ranked Lady Hoyas (15-1) have won 13 straight, with 10 of those wins resulting in shutouts. They’ve already scored 77 goals on the year and have given up only five.

Harrison’s last loss came Feb. 19 against Etowah.

But with several ranked opponents in their portion of the bracket — one being No. 8 Lassiter — the Lady Hoyas will have to remain in top form when they open the postseason at home today against Valdosta.

With Julia DuPre, Hannah Ostman and Lizzie Sieracki leading the way, the first couple of rounds appear favorable for Harrison. If the Lady Hoyas advance, however, they could either run into Lassiter, No. 5 Grayson or No. 6 Lambert in the quarterfinals.

Region 5AAAAAA runner-up Lassiter (12-3-1) came up short of the region title, falling to champion Walton in a game decided by penalty kicks. The Lady Trojans could be tested early against No. 5 Grayson in the opening round.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 7 Walton (12-3-2) will host Dacula today and would face either No. 10 South Forsyth or Duluth in the second round. The Lady Raiders defense, anchored by goalkeeper Michel Fernandez, carried them to a region title.

Walton has only scored more than three goals in a game twice this season — often relying on a defense led by goalkeeper Michel Fernandez — and coach Sharon Loughran said one of the team’s primary focuses will be raising that offensive number, even though forward Leigh Purinton has 16 goals on the year.

“We’re working on our final (attacking) third and have focused on different ways to score,” Loughran said. “We’ve polished up our set pieces. I feel like we’re ready to go. It’s just a matter of execution.”

Hillgrove (13-4-1), which finished second behind Harrison in Region 4AAAAAA, will open at home against Camden County and could eventually see Walton in the quarterfinals.

North Cobb and Kennesaw Mountain, the No. 3 and No. 4 teams of 4AAAAAA, respectively, are on opposite sides of the draw. A game-winning overtime goal by Jordan Pannell against Kennesaw Mountain secured North Cobb’s No. 3 status.

The Lady Warriors (9-7-1) will play at Tift County and could either see No. 3 Parkview or No. 4 Collins Hill in the quarterfinals. The Lady Mustangs (10-7) will head to Lowndes in the opening round and could bump into No. 2 Mill Creek in the quarterfinals.

Last year’s Class AAA champion, Allatoona, came up short of winning a Region 5AAAAA title, settling for second to No. 2 North Paulding.

Led by senior midfielder Suzanne Arafa and forward Willough Davis, the Lady Buccaneers (11-5-1) will host Heritage-Conyers in the first round today and will likely see fourth-ranked Lakeside-DeKalb in the second round.

Allatoona, which has been streaky at times, has won the last three games going into postseason.

“It’s a difficult draw all the way around for everybody, I think,” Allatoona coach Bill Perry said. “I think it’s going to be tough for us to start out of the gate. We’re trying to be as low-key as we possibly can.”

Pope (10-5-2) is the second seed out of Region 7AAAAA behind No. 9 Riverwood and will host North Atlanta.

Area 7A champion Mount Paran Christian (13-1) has a bye into the second round and will face the winner of a first-round game between No. 8 Fellowship Christian and Towns County. Whitefield Academy (7-5-2), the No. 2 seed from 7A, will host Galloway in its opener Thursday, while third-seeded Walker (4-11) is at Pace Academy.
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