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Eagle's Landing rolls to first-round win

By Anthony Rhoads

The Eagle's Landing Lady Golden Eagles are going to the second round of the Class AAAA state soccer playoffs.

The Lady Golden Eagles (15-1-1) opened the state tournament at home Wednesday with a 7-0 victory over Thomas County Central (12-6).

Senior Hayley Ferrell led the way with three goals and two assists.

"It's a great accomplishment," Ferrell said. "We were really excited, really fired up and ready to play today."

Eagle's Landing controlled the game from the start, getting a 1-0 advantage just two-and-a-half minutes into the game when Ferrell scored off a Hope Hanson assist.

With 29:10 remaining in the half, Kayleigh Haggerty scored to give Eagle's Landing a 2-0 lead.

Less than five minutes later, Ferrell notched her second goal and then at the 23:09 mark, Lauren Hawkins scored to push Eagle's Landing's lead to 4-0, an advantage the Lady Golden Eagles held until halftime.

Less than eight minutes into the second half, Taylor Lee scored to give Eagle's Landing a 5-0 lead.

With 3:08 remaining, Ferrell scored off a Sara Samchok assist and with a little over one minute remaining, Lauren Harris scored with Katie Powers getting the assist.

Eagle's Landing played most of the game on Thomas County Central's side of the field and got off 23 shots in the contest. Thomas County Central managed just one shot on goal.

Eagle's Landing takes on McIntosh in the second round of the state tournament on Tuesday. McIntosh, last year's Class AAAAA state champion, advanced to the second round by beating Effingham County 15-0 Wednesday.

"We're going to work hard and we have three days to prepare for one of the best teams in the state," Eagle's Landing head coach Frank Perry said. "I'll take these girls over anybody n the state. They're a great group of girls."

While Perry respects McIntosh, he is undaunted going into the contest.

"You've got to play them sometime," Perry said. "The state championship is going to go through McIntosh."

Eagle's Landing went through the regular season undefeated with the only blemish coming in 1-1 tie in a non-region match against Salem in March. Eagle's Landing's first loss of the season came last Friday in a 1-0 setback in the Region 3-AAAA finals against Hardaway.

"It definitely put a little fire under our butts to work harder," Ferrell said.

Perry said that loss was a wake-up call for his team because it showed them they could be beaten.

"That's a blessing in disguise," he said. "It showed them they are vulnerable and from this point on everybody has their back against the wall."

The Eagle's Landing boys (7-7-2) play at Lee County (12-4-2) in the first round of the state playoffs.