Saturday May 25th, 2024 4:41PM

Girls soccer playoffs: 8-6A, 7-3A look to continue dominating runs in 2nd round

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

As the second round of the 2024 Georgia High School Association girls soccer playoffs continue on Tuesday and Thursday, one thing is certain: Regions 8-6A and 7-3A both established themselves as serious contenders.

For 8-6A, Habersham Central, Jackson County, and Gainesville all advanced to the second round. In 7-3A, Lumpkin County (ranked fifth) and Dawson County (seventh) in 7-3A joined No. 1-ranked Wesleyan in the Sweet 16. White County dropped a slim 1-0 decision in a loss to Bremen to narrowly miss out on a clean sweep for 7-3A.

Perhaps the highlight of the second round in Class 3A will be Lumpkin County (11-1-1) traveling to No. 2 Oconee County (13-1-5).

Only two of the Lady Indians' 13 opponents have scored against them, though they allowed eight goals in an 8-0 loss to Wesleyan. Only Dawson County, in a 2-1 win, was able to find the net, as the Lumpkin defense pitched 11 shutouts on the season. Oconee County is averaging just 3.1 goals/game, but the Lady Warriors have yielded just 7 goals over their past 13 matches.

Dawson County (12-4) heads to Stephens County (7-9), with its four losses all coming to playoff teams. Of the Lady Tigers' 26 goals allowed, 20 have come in those losses. Stephens County has won three straight but finished the regular season on a 3-7 slide.

For Region 8-6A, all three will face top-six matchups on Thursday. Region champ Habersham Central (14-2-1) is tied for third for the most wins in Class 6A and has the classification’s longest current win streak at 10. But the unranked Lady Raiders face third-ranked Roswell (13-3-1) 

Jackson County (13-5-1) heads to No. 2 Pope (12-2-1), while Gainesville (13-6), a No. 3 seed, will play host to sixth-ranked but No. 4 seed Johns Creek (11-6) as Region 7-6A swept out Region 6 in the first round.

For the Lady Red Elephants, last week’s 1-0 win over South Paulding was their first playoff win since 2016. They are into the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Coach Aslyn Balldstadt said they understand the challenges ahead but also know a challenging schedule has helped get them this far.

“We have faced some quality opponents within our region that I feel prepared us for the postseason,” Balldstadt said. "We are looking forward to playing a talented John’s Creek team.”

Defense will be the key for Gainesville. In their six losses, they have surrendered 15 of their 22 total goals. In their 13 wins, they have allowed 7 total goals with eight shutouts. However, they are just 5-4 at City Park Stadium this season.

No. 1-ranked teams Buford (7A) and Jefferson (5A) will both be in action on Tuesday at home.

In Class 4A, fifth-ranked Cherokee Bluff (15-4) has a huge matchup with No. 10 Southeast Whitfield (11-3-1) at Yonah Field.

(See the entire schedule for Tuesday and Thursday's second-round playoff games below.)


2nd ROUND GHSA SOCCER PLAYOFFS, Tuesday, April 23
GIRLS

CLASS 7A
Milton (R6, S3) at Buford (R8, S1), 6:30 p.m.

CLASS 5A
Chattahoochee (R6, S2) at Jefferson (R8, S1), 6:30 p.m.

CLASS 3A
Lumpkin County (R7, S2) at Oconee County (R8, S1), 6 p.m.
Dawson County (R7, S3) at Stephens County (R8, S2), 6 p.m.

CLASS A DIVISION 1
Atlanta International (R6, S4) at Rabun County (R8, S2), 6 p.m. 

CLASS A DIVISION 2
Towns County (R8, S3) at Christian Heritage (R4, S2), TBA


2nd ROUND SOCCER PLAYOFFS, Thursday, April 25
GIRLS

CLASS 6A
Johns Creek (R7, S4) at Gainesville (R8, S3), 6 p.m. 6th
Jackson County (R8, S2) at Pope (R7, S1), 6 p.m. 2nd
Roswell (R7, S2) at Habersham Central (R8, S1), 6 p.m. 3rd

CLASS 4A
SE Whitfield at Cherokee Bluff (R8, S1), 6 p.m.

CLASS 2A
East Jackson (R8, S3) at Mt. Paran (R6, S1), 6 p.m.


GIRLS 1st ROUND SCORES

CLASS 7A
Buford 9, Wheeler 0

CLASS 6A
Gainesville 1, South Paulding 0
Jackson County 2, Newnan 0
Habersham Central 10, Paulding County 0

CLASS 5A
Jefferson 7, Tri-Cities 0

CLASS 4A
Cherokee Bluff 10, Hampton 0
Pace Academy 2, Johnson 1

CLASS 3A
Lumpkin County 9, Coahulla Creek 0
Dawson County 4, Adairsville 2
Bremen 1, White County 0

CLASS 2A
East Jackson 6, Callaway 0

CLASS A DIVISION 1
Oglethorpe County 6, Commerce 1 
Rabun County 5, Jasper County 4

CLASS A DIVISION 2
Towns County 2, Truetlen 0

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