GHSA Girls Soccer
Northgate takes road back to Elite 8
by Staff Reports
AUGUSTA — At the rate that Northgate’s soccer teams are winning postseason games on the road this year, Henry Seldon Field may not be as welcomed a venue as one might think.
On Tuesday, the Lady Vikings knocked off their second straight state playoff opponent as a lower seed, marching into Lakeside-Evans and rallying back for three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes for a 3-2 victory over this year’s Region 2-AAAAAA champions.
Despite being denied several chances over the first hour of play, including one ball that looked to have crossed the end line, Northgate’s girls pushed three more into the Lakeside net that counted, first tying the game and then creating a two-goal cushion over the host Lady Panthers before ending their season at 15-3.
“It’s a much better ride home than I thought it would be,” said Lady Vikings coach Bryan Hicks, knowing what his team was up against. “The girls just kept hammering at the net. They never gave up.”
Senior Micayla Crenshaw, who couldn’t convert and open net after beating Lakeside’s keeper on a run early in the game, came back to score the tying and go-ahead goals before freshman Lily Barron put the game out of reach by heading home a corner kick with five minutes remaining.
The win allowed Northgate’s girls to advance to the Elite 8 for the first time since a run to the Class AAAA Final Four in 2010.
Today, the Vikings get their shot to join them while attempting to win their second straight road playoff game when they travel to play No. 2-ranked and undefeated Houston County.
“I like traveling,” Hicks said, who will be back on the bus with the boys and coach Maurice Campbell today. “You just never know. At one point it didn’t look like we’d even make the playoffs,”
The Lady Vikings, who like the boys finished third in Area 4-AAAAA will now travel to play Pope, this year’s runner-up in Area 7-AAAAA.
All four state qualifiers from 4-AAAAA advanced to the Elite 8 with top-ranked Whitewater and No. 3 ranked McIntosh defeating respective opponents 5-0. Starr’s Mill defeated Greenbrier 3-1 to also advance.
Early in Tuesday’s second-round game, Brittany Deloach looked to have given Northgate its first goal with a header off a corner kick, but play continued on.
Down 1-0, Crenshaw tied it off a feed from sophomore Katie Mitchell with around 20 minutes to play. The goal seemed to open the floodgates for the Lady Vikings offense, with Crenshaw netting another off a feed from Hannah Murray to put Northgate ahead for good.
Lakeside scored its final goal with three minutes to play on a run off the right side. But by that point, the Lady Panthers had run out of time.