High School Sports

13 Columbus area soccer teams reached state playoffs. 5 remain after first round

Thirteen boys and girls soccer teams in the Columbus area played first-round matches this week in the Georgia High School Association state playoffs. Five of them won. Here are the highlights:

Columbus boys

In Class AAAA, the Region 1 second-seeded Columbus boys beat Region 4 third seed Eastside 4-1 Friday at Kinnett Stadium.

Garret Cox, a senior, scored all four goals for the Blue Devils — all in the first 21 minutes.

His first goal came in the first five minutes. He stole the ball near the 50-yard line and sprinted into the box. Eastside’s goalkeeper saved the first shot, but Cox converted the rebound.

Three minutes later, Columbus senior Tyler Harbin intercepted a pass at midfield and set up Cox, who scored on a left-footed shot.

Two minutes later, Harbin and Cox connected for a goal that looked like a replay of the previous one.

Cox capped his scoring spree at the 21-minute mark. Gabe Burgamy, a junior, played the ball in the air to freshman Michael Wood. His one-touch pass went over Eastside’s back line and found Cox for the finish.

“We went into this game knowing that we had to come out strong and not let Eastside get a good rhythm,” said Columbus head coach Reyvid Torres. “We knew just how dangerous they could be if we allowed them to get comfortable on the ball.

“We also knew that we needed to be quick and move the ball forward as soon as we won it, and that’s exactly how we scored two of our goals. The other two were a result of intense but controlled pressure.”

The Blue Devils (13-2-1) advanced to the Class AAAA Sweet 16 and will play at 7 p.m. May 2 at Region 2 first seed Upson-Lee.

Columbus girls

In Class AAAA, the Region 1 first-seeded Columbus girls romped over Region 4 fourth seed Luella 12-2 Thursday at Kinnett Stadium.

Scoring for Columbus were Faith Knoedler (3 goals, 1 assist), Josie Wood (2 goals, 2 assists), Claudia Veliz (2 goals, 2 assists), Abby Littleton (2 goals, 1 assist), Alexis Steinhauser (2 goals) and Chayce Schuler (1 goal, 1 assist). Shayla Perrymond, Ashley Salous and Gabby Veliz made one assist apiece.

The Blue Devils (18-1) advanced to the Class AAAA Sweet 16 and will play at 6 p.m. May 1 at Kinnett Stadium against Region 2 second seed Mary Persons.

Northside girls

In Class AAAA, the Region 1 second-seeded Northside girls prevailed 2-1 in overtime Thursday against Region 4 third seed Druid Hills at Kinnett Stadium.

“It was just who wanted it more,” said Northside head coach Elizabeth Toelle. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. A lot of it had to do with the leadership on the field.”

Marissa Taghon, a junior, scored both of Northside’s goals, and freshman Brianna Conley assisted on both.

The game-winner came in the third minute of overtime. Conley passed to Taghon at the top of the box, and Taghon chipped the ball over the goalkeeper’s head.

“Marissa hasn’t been our leading scorer — she’s been more of a playmaker for us — but the fact that she was able to step up and pull the trigger when we needed her just shows why her teammates voted her captain,” Toelle said.

Also stepping up for the Patriots was freshman goalkeeper Brigitte Velez, who started her fifth game in place of the injured regular keeper.

“She did an excellent job of being fearless,” Toelle said. “It was a tough game, pouring down rain for most of it, and that’s difficult on turf for a keeper.”

The Patriots (15-4) advanced to the Class AAAA Sweet 16 and will play May 1 at Region 2 first seed Spalding. The game time hasn’t been announced.

Harris County boys

In Class AAAAA, the Region 1 second-seeded Harris County boys won 4-1 at home Wednesday against Region 4 third seed Dutchtown.

John Phillips contributed to all of the Tigers’ goals with three goals and one assist. Javier Tinico notched their other goal and added an assist. Aidan Butler and Felix Rodriguez also made an assist.

Harris County (12-5-1) advanced to the Class AAAAA Sweet 16 and will play at home at 6:30 p.m. May 2 against Region 3 fourth seed Fayette County.

Pacelli boys

In the 16-team Class A private-school first round, the Area 2 first-seeded Pacelli boys won 8-1 Wednesday at home against Area 4 second seed Landmark Christian.

Danny Duran (2 assists) and Brayden Woods scored two goals each for the Vikings. Troy Espiritu, Ramon Vazquez and Gabe Fleming added one goal apiece. The other Pacelli goal was a Landmark own-goal.

The Vikings (14-3-1) advanced to the Class A private-school Elite Eight and will play at 7 p.m. May 2, against Area 6 first seed Whitefield Academy.

Northside boys

In Class AAAA, the Region 1 fourth-seeded Northside boys lost 9-0 Friday at Region 4 first seed Woodward Academy.

Shaw boys

In Class AAAA, the Region 1 third-seeded Shaw boys lost 4-0 Friday at Region 4 second seed Druid Hills.

Shaw girls

In Class AAAA, the Region 1 third-seeded Shaw girls lost 8-1 at Region 4 second seed Eastside.

Dasha Hayes, a freshman, scored Shaw’s lone goal.

Spencer boys

In Class AA, the Region 5 third-seeded Spencer boys lost 4-0 Friday at Region 8 second seed Putnam County.

Harris County girls

In Class AAAAA, the Region 1 third-seeded Harris County girls lost 5-0 Tuesday at Region 4 second seed Locust Grove.

Brookstone girls

In the 16-team Class A private-school first round, the Area 2 second-seeded Brookstone girls lost 5-0 Tuesday at Area 4 first seed Eagles Landing Christian.

Chattahoochee County boys

In the 16-team Class A public-school first round, the Area 4 first-seeded Chattahoochee County boys lost 8-2 Wednesday at home against Area 2 second seed ACE Charter.

Scoring for Chattahoochee County were sophomore Robert Lucas and senior Carlos Zavala. The Panthers finished their season 4-7-2.

Chattahoochee County girls

In the 16-team Class A public-school first round, the Area 4 first-seeded Chattahoochee County girls lost 6-0 Tuesday at home to Area 2 second seed ACE Charter.

This was the first state playoff appearance for the Chattahoochee County girls soccer program in five years. After going 2-8 last season, the Panthers improved to 6-7 this season.

Ledger-Enquirer staff writer Mark Rice covers education and other issues related to youth. He also writes feature stories about any compelling topic. He has been reporting in Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley for more than a quarter-century. He welcomes your local news tips and questions.
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