BUFORD — The Buford girls soccer team advanced to the quarterfinals for the fifth time in six years after routing Locust Grove 10-0 Tuesday in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs at home.
The Lady Wolves (15-2-2) started strong with a pair of a goals in the opening four minutes and then scored three times in the final 5:21 of the first half to blow open the match.
Buford outshot the Lady Wildcats 19-1 in the first half and 33-1 for the game and produced 7 corners to none for Locust Grove.
Despite the dominating performance, Buford coach Andrew Eager knows his team will have to step up another notch on Friday, when the Lady Wolves take on Veterans, which whipped Rome 9-1 in the second round. The two region winners will conduct a coin-flip on Wednesday to determine home field.
“Veterans will be a much tougher team than we have faced so far,” Eager said. “It won’t matter where we play.”
While the venue might not matter, the play of the young Lady Wolves, which has been on a steady rise, will be key. At one point Tuesday Eager had eight freshmen or sophomores playing amongst the 11 on the pitch.
No seniors tallied goals on Tuesday, while Buford's juniors accounted for six and four more came from either freshmen or sophomores. However, as has been the case much of the season, balance is what drives the Lady Wolves offense. And seven different players scored on Tuesday.
“They younger girls have been progressing and I think now with two playoff games under their belts they will only get better,” Eager said. “This is a different group than last year, which was senior-driven and led by three or four players. I feel like this team is a little deeper, a little more balanced offensively.”
Freshman Ava Sherman and juniors Sydney McCullough and Julia Lewis notched two goals apiece for Buford. Reagan Coleman, Morgan Smith, Heidi Orr, and Kylie Buchanan scored one goal each.
Buford wasted little time in jumping on the Lady Wildcats (9-8) when Coleman found the net after a scramble off a corner in the second minute. Three minutes later McCullough made it 2-0 knocking a rebound past Locust Grove keeper is Megan Hoopingarner.
Sherman then got her first goal off a nice cross by Cameron Hall, who set it up with run down left side and then crossed from inside the box, in the 14th minute.
“It thought we were much more prepared in this round. We came out strong and just played much cleaner,” Eager said.
Sherman then started the three-goal barrage to end the half taking another beautiful cross, this time from Jada Caraballo, who gathered a ball on the right side, drilled a pass through four defenders to Sherman, who footed it past Hoopingarner for a 4-0 advantage with just over five minutes left in the half.
Just 90 seconds later McCullough tallied her second goal with a low blast past Hoopingarner for a 5-0 lead. The Lady Wolves added another goal two minutes later when Lewis banged in a deflection off a Locust Grove defender with 1:57 left in the half.
Morgan Smith got things going quickly in the second half looping a wicked angle shot off an assist from Maggie Davis past Hoopingarner for a 7-0 advantage less than three minutes in..
The Lady Wolves had another golden chance five minutes later on a pair of headers, but one hit the crossbar and a second off the rebound sailed just high of the goal.
Minutes later though Buford struck again when Orr banged in a rebound off a shot by Paige Huffine and Hoopingarner save to push lead to 8-0 with 24 minutes left. Three minutes after that Lewis drilled a beautiful bender into the low left corner past Hoopingarner for a 9-0 lead.
Buchanan ended it with less than 15 minutes left knocking in a rebound to put the 10-goal mercy rule into effect.