Prep Soccer: Heritage School shakes off 'jitters' for shutout win


Heritage School freshman Calista Eckert dribbles the ball up field during Thursday’s game. Eckert scored the Lady Hawks final goal in a 2-0 win in the team’s season opener. (Photo by Paula Vandersluis)

A season-opening victory on Thursday at home was fit with tradition for The Heritage School’s girls soccer program.
The butterflies that came with it, however, were not.
A Lady Hawks team that makes the jump to the GISA’s highest classification this spring is also one of the program’s youngest in recent memory while coming off last year’s trip to the Class AA Final Four while winning a Region 1-AA title.
Despite losing five All-Region players to graduation, Heritage’s girls dominated possession on Thursday in a 2-0 victory over the Weber School to open the 2013 season.
The Lady Hawks entered their opener with just a pair of seniors, including returning All-Region defender, along with junior midfielder Ansley Dieckmann, another All-Region standout in 2012 as the core of its leadership.
The rest of head coach Ron Rineer’s 18-player roster is made up of sophomores, freshmen and eighth graders, including a pair that started on defense to open the season.
“There were a lot of first-game jitters out there,” Rineer said after the victory. “We probably dominated possession for 85-90 percent of the game. It was very evident of a first game. There’s lot of things to iron out as we go along. We’re extremely young this year.”
The Lady Hawks’ influx of youth quickly proved it was capable, not only helping sophomore Lillie Smith post her first shutout of the season, but contributing both of Thursday’s goals. Sophomore Phebe Warren was involved in both of them, opening the game with a goal off a feed from freshman Kare Everett.

After halftime, Warren returned the favor by assisting on an insurance score by freshman Calista Eckert.

Weber, which fell to 1-1 in the region, was coming off Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Trinity Christian in its second straight trip to Coweta County.

The Hawks, who entered the season Thursday with three seniors and a large junior class to build on including returning All-Region players Ben Dudley, the team’s senior goalkeeper, and senior midfielder Daniel Martin.

Weber tacked on three goals late in Thursday’s game to hold off the Hawks 4-0.

The schedule picks up quickly for Heritage lineups which host Arlington Christian today in a non-region doubleheader before playing four matches next week.

The Rams improved to 1-0-1 in 1-AAA following Tuesday’s 2-2 tie against Trinity Christian.

Trinity Christian lineups also resumed region play on Thursday in matches at Dominion Christian. Scores were unavailable at deadline.

Tonight both East Coweta and Newnan return to play at home in tough non-region doubleheaders that include state-ranked opponents starting with girls matches.

East Coweta hosts Sandy Creek at 5:30. The Patriots are ranked No. 10 in Class AAAA while the Indians (3-0) remain unbeaten, entering as the No. 4-ranked lineup in AAAAAA. The Lady Indians are coming off a pair of tough losses to ranked opponets from Fayette County.

Newnan will play lineups from Union Grove starting at 6. The Lady Wolverines are ranked sixth in Class AAAAA. The Lady Cougars are coming off a 6-0 victory over Tri-Cities on Tuesday night while improving to 3-1 and 2-0 in Area 3-AAAAA. The Cougars (4-1, 2-0) face an undefeated Union Grove lineup at 4-0.

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