Walker girls advance to Class AA/A semifinals
by Adam Geigerman
MDJ Sports Correspondent
May 09, 2010 12:00 AM | 1227 views | 1 1 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SAVANNAH - Walker's defense played to its best again, recording its 12th shutout, and third in three playoff games, in a 2-0 win over St. Vincent's Saturday in the quarterfinal round of Class AA/A girls soccer state playoffs at Daffin Park.

The win clinched the two-time defending state champion Lady Wolverines (13-3-2) their third consecutive trip to the final four. They will travel to Greater Atlanta Christian on Wednesday in a rematch of last year's semifinal, which was a 3-1 Walker win.

"Obviously, we're delighted to get the result. We played a quality opponent," Walker coach Brad Brown said. "I'm proud of our effort. It was a long trip and a hot day, but we battled it out."

Saturday's game was close, but fatigue seemed to plague St. Vincent's (19-1-1), which suffered its first loss after coming in having outscored its competition 130-5.

"We didn't do much wrong, and we did a lot right," St. Vincent's coach Andy Kaplan said. "We stayed tough with one of the top two or three schools in Georgia and created scoring opportunities but couldn't finish it."

The game featured a brutal battle for possession in the wide-open midfield. Both teams settled the ball into a nearly even amount of possessions, but neither could press forward with consistency, a testament to the smothering defense from all 22 girls on the field.

Each squad played a nearly clean game, featuring a single yellow card per team. When opportunities appeared, St. Vincent's let its adrenaline interrupt its finesse, sending several open shots screaming over the crossbar.

It was much the same story for Walker, which tested Lady Saints goalkeeper Hannah Burnsed several times before breaking through with a corner kick. The set piece sent the ball to midfield, where it was crossed into the penalty box.

Hannah Lones took the shot and it ricocheted off the crossbar. But Nicole Locandro was in perfect position for the rebound and buried a header past Burnsed for the go-ahead goal with 13:25 left in the first half.

The story was much the same as St. Vincent's came out firing again after the intermission, with much of the same air-mail results. The midfield skirmish for possession allowed the clock to dwindle until Walker scored its second goal by way of the boot from Rachel Fine with 27 seconds left to play, off an assist from Evie Kytan, putting the game out of reach.

When Walker matches up against Greater Atlanta Christian on Wednesday in Norcross, the Lady Wolverines won't be taking them lightly. The teams haven't played this season, but they split two meetings in 2009, including Walker's 3-1 win in the semifinals.

"The bottom line is, this is the semifinals," Brown said, "and you don't make it this far if you're not a good team."
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WalkerSoccerFan
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May 09, 2010
This is actually the girls' fourth consecutive trip to the semi-finals, having made it in 2007, 2008, 2009, and this year.
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