Many of county’s girls soccer teams have faced early struggles
by Emily Horos
March 13, 2014 04:00 AM | 1611 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cherokee’s leading scorer a year ago, Sam Thornton, left, helped the Lady Warriors to a strong start this season. The Lady Warriors, however, couldn’t maintain their momentum as they faced Region 5AAAAAA’s top teams.
<Br>Staff file photo
Cherokee’s leading scorer a year ago, Sam Thornton, left, helped the Lady Warriors to a strong start this season. The Lady Warriors, however, couldn’t maintain their momentum as they faced Region 5AAAAAA’s top teams.
Staff file photo
There’s more than a month remaining in the regular season, and it appears that many of the county’s girls soccer teams will need every bit of it if they are going to make a push for the state playoffs.

River Ridge, which is chasing its second straight state playoff appearance and a possible Region 7AAAA title, is the only team bucking the trend. The Lady Knights (5-2, 2-0) are not only playing above .500, but are also undefeated in region competition.

River Ridge lost its season opener against Kell, and then fell to Class AAAAAA Roswell on March 1, but aside from those two games, it’s outscored opponents a 29-3 margin. In region play, the Lady Knights defeated Gilmer 10-1 and Cedartown 9-0.

This weekend, the team will play a series in Jekyll Island for the Tournament of Champions. River Ridge will face Pope John Paul II (Ala.), Duluth and Spain Park (Ala.).

Aside from River Ridge, no other team in the county is playing above .500, although a couple may be able to turn things around against region opponents.

One such team is Sequoyah.

The Lady Chiefs (2-6, 2-1 Region 7AAAAA) have won when it’s counted the most. They lost their first six games of the season, including a region meeting with Cambridge. During those six games, Sequoyah was outscored 29-3 and was shut out on four occasions.

Coach Bill Dillon said that after the last loss — a 6-1 setback against North Forsyth — his players didn’t want to suffer a similar fate and put together two good performances. The results were region victories over North Springs and Sprayberry.

“They are just working hard and taking pride in what they are doing,” Dillon said. “They are just doing what they need to do and not giving up.”

Dillon said he didn’t mind a 1-0 loss to Hillgrove, or even the 2-0 loss to Cambridge in the region opener.

“We tanked it against North Forsyth, but since then, we have been doing well,” Dillon said. “We have to beat the teams that we match up nicely with, and we match up good with North Springs, and we match up good with Sprayberry, and to let those games go by without getting the ‘W’ would have been discouraging. We are going to have games with tough matches like Riverwood, Pope and Northview, where we are going to have to play perfect ball to win. So, it’s always good to get the teams that we are equal to in the ‘W’ column.”

Up next for the Lady Chiefs is a non-region game at Kennesaw Mountain on Friday.

Creekview is just 1-3 on the season, but at least its lone victory came against a Region 7AAAAA opponent.

The Lady Grizzlies opened their season with 1-0 losses to Dunwoody and Woodstock before leaping into region play. Creekview defeated Riverwood 4-2 in that game, but it lost to Kell 2-1 in another region game.

Like River Ridge, Creekview will also be traveling to Jekyll Island to face Clarke Central, Mount Paran Christian and Pope John Paul II before resuming region play Tuesday against Sprayberry.

Cherokee, which finished below .500 a year ago, started this season strong.

After an early-season tie against Kell, the Lady Warriors won three straight matches to improve to 3-0-1. But since then, they’ve struggled against some of Region 5AAAAAA’s top teams with losses to Lassiter, Walton and Milton.

Now 3-3-1, Cherokee will need to turn things around quickly if they want the season to end differently than it has in recent years.

One challenge Cherokee continues to work through is practicing and playing without a home field.

Due to construction at Tommy Baker Field, the Lady Warriors have either had to play on the road or at Badger Creek Park in Canton.

Cherokee won’t play another game until March 20, when it plays at Roswell.

Etowah, like Cherokee, started the season strong before slumping. The Lady Eagles (3-6, 1-1 Region 5AAAAAA) opened with wins over Sequoyah and Kennesaw Mountain, but it then followed with losses to Holy Innocents’, Harrison, Milton, Alpharetta and River Ridge.

Only the 2-0 loss to Milton counts toward the region standings. The Lady Eagles were able to even their region record with a 1-0 victory over Roswell that required penalty kicks to determine the winner.

Etowah will also travel to Jekyll Island this weekend for games against Statesboro and West Forsyth.

Woodstock (1-2, 0-1) also finds itself near the bottom of the Region 5AAAAAA standings.

The Lady Wolverines opened the season with a 1-0 victory over Creekview, but their next game was the region opener and a crushing 8-0 loss to Walton. A non-region loss to North Cobb followed.

The Lady Wolverines return to action Friday for a region game at Lassiter.
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