Starr’s Mill boys send Warner Robins home crying for mercy
by Jenna Sanders
via The Prowler News at SMHS
The Starr’s Mill Panthers, the No. 2 seed from region 3-AAAAA, played Warner Robins, the three seed from its region, in a one-sided offensive display Friday night. The Demons, who carried a four-game losing streak into the playoffs, could not match the attack of host Starr’s Mill, falling 11-1 in a game called due to the mercy rule.
“We started off really fast,” Starr’s Mill head coach Mike Hanie said. “We were all over them, then we kinda slowed down a little bit, but ended up picking back up the pace.”
The Panthers started the game off strong attacking the goal. Junior Sam Pompeo led the charge, scoring three goals within the first 20 minutes. The Demons attempted multiple times to take control of the ball, but could not manage to keep the ball away from the Panthers long enough to push it to the goal. The Mill kept pressing offensively with senior Patrick Bonilla and sophomore Jack Baker scoring in the last two minutes of the first half, increasing the Panthers’ lead to 5-0 over the Demons.
“They didn’t really put up much of a fight,” Pompeo said. “But I’m proud of the boys for pushing throughout the game.”
In the second half, the Demons managed to get the ball just within the box and sink a shot in the 45th minute. One minute after the first and only Warner Robins goal of the night, freshman Craig McIlwraith scored from within the box, increasing the Mill’s lead to 6-1.
“I can’t do anything without my teammates,” Pompeo said. “Without the pass, there is no goal. I’m proud of my boys.”
Baker scored three more goals following McIlwraith’s goal, setting the score at 9-1. Sophomore Noah Pavel scored the tenth goal from within the box. Junior Brandon Weidle scored in the 60th minute, and the game ended in a mercy rule with the score 11-1.
“Going into the second round, we’re going to go up against a really tough opponent,” Hanie said. “It’s going to be a really tough battle.”
Starr’s Mill will play next against Clarkston, the top seed from region 5-AAAAA, who won a decisive 5-0 match against Cass. The Panthers travel to Hallford Stadium on May 3 for a 6 p.m. match in the second round of the state playoffs.
Lady Panthers harrass Harris Co. 3-0
The Lady Panthers traveled south and returned with a 3-0 win over Harris Co in the first round of the state playoffs.
The team started slowly but maintained control throughout. The first half saw the Panthers defend perfectly, allowing only half chances or looks at goal by Harris Co. Kirsten Oates, Ashton Nowicki, Rachel Davison, Sky Dedrick, and Sara Biddle formed a wall around the box and prevented any real chances in the half.
Chloe Spradlin and Makira Walton held the midfield under control despite being outnumbered. Katelyn O’Shields, Hailey Grebeck, and Kaleigh Ward came in to provide fresh energy and keep things contained as the half came to a close tied at 0-0.
The second half saw the Starr’s Mill front line join the party as the team immediately looked more threatening and created clearer chances. It took less than ten minutes for the Panthers to pull ahead after their immediate and sustained pressure led to a corner kick. Ansley Peurifoy drove the ball in at the near post and Quin Nowicki flashed in front of the defender and flicked the ball inside the near post for the 1-0 lead.
The Panthers jumped on the momentum and scored two more goals in less than nine minutes. Spradlin freed Peurifoy on a ball in behind the defense, and she made no mistake in doubling the lead. Peurifoy was involved the third time with a flick between defenders allowing Oates to get into the box. She settled and rifled the ball through the keeper’s hands and into the net for the 3-0 lead.
Alivia Sapienza, Nikki Jackson, and Meritt Parker created chances and helped the team finish off the match as it turned into more of a back and forth affair in the last 15 minutes.
McIntosh cruises through soccer opening round with ease
by Christopher Dunn
The McIntosh Chiefs did what top-ranked teams do, dispatching of the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets 8-0 in a round one matchup Friday night.
The Chiefs, the number four ranked boys team in the country according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, looked like a team destined for another title.
“We played hard. We played well,” said McIntosh coach Bunky Colvin. “I’m pleased with the effort all around.”
The Chiefs broke through in the seventh minute on a Jacob Donaldson goal. Six minutes later Gus Fidler launched a shot from outside the box that ricocheted off a defender and into the goal. Just past the midway point of the first half, Donaldson and Dylan Keysar teamed up on a give-and-go, Donaldson burying it in the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.
With nine minutes left in the half, Addison Dattilo took advantage of a misplayed ball by the keeper to make it a four-goal margin. Donaldson capped off a first-half hat trick and a 5-0 lead with some fancy footwork in the box to fake out the defense.
“We kept the ball well. We played smart. We finished our chances when we got them,” said Colvin. “It was a good night.”
The second half was more of the same as Donaldson scored his fourth goal and Keysar made it a seven-goal lead. Arman Ostadazim finished off the night’s scoring on a penalty kick with under ten minutes to play in the match.
Heading into the Sweet Sixteen against Cross Keys, the Chiefs have some things they want to tighten up.
“We need to get a little quicker in our possession,” said Colvin. “Our possession was good, but I think the speed of play needs to get slightly faster. Other than that, I think we’re in pretty good shape.”
The Lady Chiefs dominated in their opener, shutting out Warner Robins 10-0.
Whitewater claws way into Sweet 16
by Christopher Dunn
The Whitewater Lady Wildcats opened up their pursuit of a state championship with a bang, rolling over the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets 10-0 Thursday night.
Round one looked like just a warmup for the top-ranked Wildcats, who also hold the number five spot in the nation according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Heavy rains soaking the field early and no working scoreboard didn’t faze the Cats. They made sure the game was clearly out of reach early. Abbie Crane scored two quick goals, and Madison Wright juked out a defender and buried a shot in the back of the net for a 3-0 lead. Madison Longley’s shot bounced off the crossbar, but Camille Messina corralled it and put it back in for another goal.
Thomas County Central lost their starting keeper to a hand injury, and their backup would have to play with a busted nose, but there was no room for mercy. Crane struck twice more for four first-half goals and a commanding 6-0 lead at the break.
Wright, Emily Petersen, Molly Downing, and Jolie Ryff each scored in the second half as the Cats cruised to victory. Emma Fulton posted 4 saves on the night.
The Wildcats host Carrollton in round two.
The Whitewater boys make quick work of their round one opponent, hitting the road to Harris County and returning with a resounding 9-1 victory.
Three other local teams made the state playoffs, but were unsuccessful in the first round. The Sandy Creek Lady Patriots lost to Blessed Trinity 10-0. Both Fayette County squads fell to Veterans, the boys losing 4-0 and the Lady Tigers losing 10-0.