The McIntosh Chiefs got their defense of a dual-state championship off to a strong start on Wednesday night. Both squads were successful in a doubleheader, the Lady Chiefs beating Camden County Wildcats 2-0 and the boys dominating the South Effingham Mustangs 6-0.
The Lady Chiefs shook off a sluggish start, scoring early after halftime and pulling away.
“We did a lot better in the second half than in the first half,” said coach Marcia Clark. “You can never tell about a playoff game because everybody is coming hard to play. That’s what those (Camden) girls did and they gave us a game. My hat’s off to them.”
The focal point of the offense against Camden was the dynamic Martha Trimbach. After several close calls, she finally broke through three minutes into the second half.
“Martha is a great player. We can always count on her,” said Clark. “I think we looked a lot better when we attacked as a team and she is a key piece of that.”
One of their other veteran leaders stepped up when Jackie Gray scored with under four minutes left in the match. It was a textbook example of the team’s grit as Gray was denied not once, but twice on the same charge before she beat the keeper.
“These seniors know what they want to do and they’re leading this team the right way,” said Clark.
The Lady Chiefs, ranked number one in AAAAA but the number two seed in their region, move on to round two where they will travel to play Dunwoody.
The McIntosh boys took an opposite approach, putting the game away early. It was a thoroughly dominant showing as the Chiefs scored five first half goals en route to a 6-0 victory.
“I’m very pleased. We had three players that weren’t available, but we had some guys step up big tonight,” said coach Bunky Colvin. “They’ve been working really hard this week and they’ve made a lot of improvement. If you look at this team from the beginning of the year till now, we look like a totally different team.”
Leading the attack was Dylan Keysar whose performance was nothing short of stellar. Keysar scored four goals in the first half and added a fifth after halftime.
“Sometimes for a forward, you just need that first one to get your confidence,” said Colvin. “He got that first one and then there was no stopping him. If he touched it, it went in the goal.”
Keysar didn’t take long to strike. Less than six minutes in, Keysar sliced through multiple Mustangs before finding the back of the net.
Three minutes later Daichi Uki headed in goal number two. It would be the lone goal not from Keysar.
Dylan struck again with 15 minutes left in the opening half off a Conner Halmi assist. Three minutes later he converted a dish from Uki to make it a hat trick. He had one more in him for the first half, heading in a Halmi corner kick to make it 5-0 at halftime.
Keysar added another, scoring for the fifth time with 24 minutes left in the match.
The Chiefs, ranked ninth coming into the playoffs, advance to round two where they will host Alexander.
For more photos from the games, click [btn type=”default or primary or success or info or warning or danger or link” link=”http://www.cdphotography23.com/Sports/High-School/Soccer/Soccer-2015/McIntosh-Round-One/”]here[/btn].