OAKWOOD — For the second consecutive year, the Johnson girls soccer team advanced to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The Lady Knights routed Clarkston 9-0 Tuesday night at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium behind a hat trick from freshman Denise Soto. Maria Rivera scored twice, and Emi Kuhs, Madison Booker, Dani Malone and Jocelyn Meza each tallied one goal for Johnson (9-8).
Johnson girls coach Phil Higgins said it was a much-needed victory, not just for the advancement. The Lady Knights limped into the playoffs after a lackluster 4-0 loss to Gainesville last week in their season finale.
"We needed a positive just to get the taste of scoring and winning again," Higgins said. "We had a lot of girls score and they moved the ball around really well. I thought it was a good showing for us."
The defense also played well in front of keepers Kellie Tran and Grace Yancey, who split duty between the posts.
Johnson will have to wait another day, however, before it finds out who and where it plays in the second round next week. The Lady Knights will take on the North Springs-Carrollton winner and that contest will not be played until Wednesday.
The Lady Knights will be looking to end a long drought no matter the opponent. They have not advanced to the quarterfinals since 1996.