The sign of a good team is that it responds positively when its faced with adversity.
The second-ranked Columbus girls soccer team faced adversity Wednesday night. Shrugging off a tying goal by upset-minded Chamblee, the Lady Blue Devils scored a pair of goals in the final 22 minutes to knock off the Bulldogs, 3-1, in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs at Kinnett Stadium.
"We've scored a lot of goals in the second half this season," said Columbus coach Russell Oliver, whose team has now won 12 straight matches dating back to a loss to East Coweta on March 14. "We've done a good job of making adjustments and we did that again tonight. We knew coming in it would be a tough match and Chamblee did a great job. But I couldn't have asked for a better effort out of my girls."
With the win, Columbus (17-1-1) now moves into the quarterfinals, where it will host No. 4 Spalding Saturday at Kinnett Stadium.
Kickoff time for the match hasn't been set yet. Spalding advanced by edging Statesboro, 1-0, in Griffin in the second round Wednesday night.
Both Columbus and Chamblee had scoring chances in the opening half-hour of the match, but it was Columbus that broke out on top in the 33rd minute. Kyla Wright -- headed to West Georgia to play soccer for the Lady Wolves -- found freshman forward Kimberly May, who put her shot in the back of the net to give the Blue Devils the 1-0 lead they would take into halftime.
Chamblee (11-6-1) -- the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AAAA -- tied the match in the 53rd minute. Louise McGirt's shot went off the hands of Columbus keeper Anna Scogin right to Caroline Friedman, who scored to even things up at 1-1.
The Blue Devils responded, though, with a goal of their own just two minutes later. Wright put a ball on net that was last touched by junior midfielder Lane Burbrink, putting Columbus ahead 2-1.
With Chamblee pressuring for an equalizer, Columbus was able to get an insurance goal in the 76th minute after Hanna Lester played a long clearing ball. May tracked down the ball, then she beat Chamblee goalie Lindsay Wilson in a one-on-one matchup to make it 3-1 and seal the victory for the Blue Devils.
"We all stepped up tonight and played the best we possibly could," said May, who just missed a hat trick after he shot in the 79th minute clanged off the post and bounced away. "I just want us to win a state championship and I'm going to give 100 percent when I'm out there, whether it's for five minutes or 80 minutes."
For the match, Chamblee outshot Columbus, 15-14, but Anna Scogin -- who is headed to Truett-McConnell College -- made seven saves to earn the victory in goal for the Blue Devils. Columbus won the possession battle, finishing with five corner kicks to Chamblee's three, and was whistled for 13 fouls to the Bulldogs' seven.
Wednesday at Kinnett Stadium
Goals--Chamblee: Caroline Friedman, Own Goal. Columbus: Kimberly May 2. Assists--Chamblee: Louise McGirt. Columbus: Kyla Wright, Hanna Lester. Goalies--Chamblee: Lindsay Wilson 5 saves. Columbus: Anna Scogin 7 saves. Records--Chamblee 11-6-1, Columbus 17-1-1. Next: No. 4 Spalding (17-1) at Columbus (Class AAAA State Playoffs Quarterfinals) Saturday, Time TBD.