Monday July 15th, 2024 1:36PM

Girls soccer playoffs scoreboard: Bluff falls to No. 1 Lovett; Buford advances to 7A title game; Dawson, Towns fall

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — It was not how No. 3 Cherokee Bluff hoped its season would end. 

The Lady Bears were roughed up by No. 1 Lovett, 7-0, at Yonah Field on Thursday in the Class 4A semifinals.

There was not much coach Heath Padgett had to say afterward.

“We were not good tonight,” Padgett said. “We just got beat by a better team.”

The Lovett offense was just too potent, even for a strong Bluff defense. The Lady Lions scored 121 goals (7.1 goals/game) in the season and 21 through the first three rounds of the playoffs. They hit their average against the Lady Bears.

Both teams had some early chances. Lovett went on the attack from the opening kick, generating a pair of shots in the first two minutes, but both missed wide left. Bluff’s first chance came in the 7th minute when Bristol Kersh maneuvered her way through the Lovett defense for a left-footed shot inside the box. But Lady Lions’ Helen Shearer was able to make the save.

It was a midfield battle for the next 10 minutes until Lovett was able to make a run into the Bluff box. Bluff keeper Emily Benjamin made an initial diving save on a shot, but Ridley Newton was able to blast home a rebound for a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.

The Lady Bears had another golden opportunity in the 29th minute when Kersh again was able to dribble through the defense. But her first shot was blocked, and her second attempt inside 5 yards sailed just over the crossbar.

Lovett was able to get some separation in the final nine minutes, scoring twice, including one with just 2:37 left in the half for a 3-0 lead.

Bluff had another solid chance in the final 10 seconds on a 40-yard free kick, but Shearer was able to corral a bouncing ball just before the horn.

Lovett had 12 shots in the opening half, Bluff had 6, and Kersh had three of four of those.

The Lady Lions essentially put it away quickly in the second half, scoring just 40 seconds in for a 4-0 lead. Ten minutes later, they left little doubt, scoring twice in a 19-second span to push the lead to 6-0 with 31:32 left.

But after giving up six goals in the first 49 minutes, the Bluff defense, which picked up its intensity the rest of the way, allowed just one goal over the final 31 minutes.

Mason Bosworth paced the Lady Lions with a hat trick on the night. Newton finished with a pair of goals, as did Katelyn Nixon for Lovett.

Benjamin ended the night unofficially with 13 saves for Bluff.


BUFORD ADVANCES, JEFFERSON, DAWSON COUNTY, TOWNS COUNTY FALL

In Class 7A, Buford survived a dogfight against Walton to advance to the Class 7A state title game. 

Buford scored late to tie the game, 1-1, but neither team could find the goal again in regulation and in two overtime periods. Buford captured the win, outshooting Walton on penalty kicks. 

It was almost an exact copy for Jefferson in its Class 5A semifinal against Greater Atlanta Christian. GAC scored first, but the Lady Dragons tied the match at 1 on a Samme Suppes goal. In the PKs, Kate James and Gabby Garnett both converted, but it wasn't enough as the Lady Spartans won the PKs 4-2. 

Greater Atlanta Christian took the lead off a Margaret Pritchett goal with 21:38 left in the first half and led until Jefferson scored with 6:43 left in the game.

In Class 3A, defending state champion Oconee County held off Dawson County, 1-0.

In Class 2A, Aquinas beat Towns County, 1-0, for the second time this season by the same score.

SEMIFINAL ROUND SOCCER SCOREBOARD, Thursday, May 2
GIRLS
CLASS 7A
Buford 1, Walton 1 (Buford wins 3-2 in PKs)

CLASS 5A
Greater Atlanta Christian 1, Jefferson 1 (GAC wins 4-2 in PKs)

CLASS 4A
Lovett 7, Cherokee Bluff 0

CLASS 3A
Oconee County 1, Dawson County 0

CLASS A D2
 Aquinas 1, Towns County 0

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