By Zack Huffman
Lovejoy girls soccer coach Rory Welsh stood at the side of the field at the Gerald Matthews Complex. He was surrounded by his excited players who had just come off a 9-0 annihilation of region rival Creekside to cement their place in the GHSA state soccer tournament.
"I swear, something flew into my eye," Welsh insisted as members of his squad noticed him tearing up. "We wanted to finish the season strong going into the state tournament. This was a region win so we'll take it. We just needed to put the icing on the cake."
Lovejoy took charge early when freshman Cheyna Williams approached the left corner of Creekside's net and blasted a precision shot to the upper right corner.
Williams returned to the net once more, driving the ball back in with a series of short kicks. She would score a third goal in the second half.
Abria Allen, who is also a freshman, led the scoring effort for the Lady Wildcats, scoring a total of five goals. She scored two goals in the first half, the second of which coming from a penalty oppportunity.
In the second half, Allen drove three more in, with the latter two seperated by roughly a single minute of play.
"My forwards are really talented at putting the ball into the goal," Welsh said of Williams and Allen.
Valerie Radcliff also contributed to Lovejoy's scoring, with a single goal.
"I'm very excited," said Allen about going to the playoffs. "I'm just glad to help out. We tried to go home early with ten goals, but that didn't happen. I got a lot of help from Williams and Elizabeth Cooper."
North Clayton's boys team came out against Griffin with something to prove. After being caught with an ineligible player on the roster, the Eagles for forced to sacrifice a series of key region wins, effectively keeping them out of the state tournament. Friday night was their final game of the season and although they were not going to earn a berth, it was their one final opportunity to show that the Eagles were a dominating team.
If their superior ability to control the ball was not enough, the 10-0 mercy ending clearly displayed the team's talent.
Solomon Mensah capped the game with a trio of goals. Muhammed Touray scored two goals in the first half.
Folly Kangnigan, Seun Ogunbunmi, Edem Agbozo, Michael Oni and Kohonneh Kollie each contributed goals for North Clayton.
Morrow faced off against Newnan with a likely playoff berth on the line. Neither team entered with a winning record, but each had the potential for a winning region record with the win.
In the first half, both teams remained evenly matched.
Newnan scored the first goal with a shot from Sam Taylor. The Mustangs were able to even up the score when Bryan Alverado knocked one into the goal.
In the second half, Newnan regrouped, scoring two more goals for win. Tyler Schleif was responsible for both second-half goals.
"As long as they learn from what went wrong they can move on and do better next year," said Morrow boys coach Herbert Dunbar. "We had a lot of new guys. We're rebuilding and we'll be better next year."
Dunbar awarded Alverado the game bracelet as a result of his scoring the team' only goal while playing the entire game with a hurt ankle.
Lovejoy's boys team fell to Creekside at a close 2-0. The Seminoles took an early lead in the first half, with a goal from Joel Botero. The Wildcats held Creekside in check from there, with neither team being able to maintain an advantage for any significant amount of time.
As the clock was closing in towards the end of the second half, Creekside scored its second goal when Bashir Cotterell capitalized on a penalty shot.
"I think these guys did a fantastic job tonight. These boys never stopped playing," said Lovejoy boys coach Adam Vigon. "We just didn't quite get that goal we needed."
The ladies of Morrow suffered a tough 10-0 loss against Newnan to close out their season with a 3-11 record.
For the most part, the Lady Cougars maintained control of the ball, keeping it on Morrow's side of the field allowing for a continuous assault.