GiSA StAte Soccer tournAment
Lady Hawks roll in playoff opener against Calvary
by Doug Gorman
The Heritage School Lady Hawks barely let fans get settled in their seats before establishing the momentum in Tuesday’s GISA Class AAA first-round soccer match with Calvary Christian.
Heritage found the back of the goal just 40 seconds into the contest on a shot of the foot of Ansley Dieckmann, and from there the Lady Hawks were just getting started, cruising to an 8-0 victory.
The win sends the Lady Hawks on to the Elite 8, and continues the squad’s tremendous defensive effort.
The road through the playoffs continues this week when Heritage hosts the winner of the Westminster-Westfield game. The contest will be played either Friday or Saturday once the Lady Hawks finalize their opponent.
Getting the quick goal was something Heritage head coach Ron Rineer had in his game plan.
“We talked about it,” he said. “I wanted to get one early, and 10 minutes into the game, I wanted us to be dominating, and I think we were doing that.”
Heritage improved its record to 13-1 overall. The Lady Hawks have allowed just four goals in 14 contests so far this season.
“Defensively, we are very strong,” Rineer said. “We did what we are supposed to do.”
With the win, Heritage is just three victories away from capturing the GISA state in just their first year at the Class AAA level.
“We didn’t really have an expectations about how good this season was going to be,” said sophomore midfielder Maggie Crosby. “I don’t think as young as we are, anybody would have thought we would be region champs, and then shutout out our opponent in the first round.”
“At this point, I am really proud of our team,” Rineer said. “We are going to Elite 8, if we can win that game, we are going to the Final Four, and that would be amazing.”
Heritage spread the offensive wealth against Calvary Christian who traveled to Newnan with just one extra players.
Ansley Dieckmann and Calista Eckert both had hat tricks and eighth grader Lou Pfundt scored twice.
The lack of depth went against Calvary Christian as it fell behind 5-0 at the end of the first half.
Heritage attacked the goal throughout the first half forcing 12 corner kicks and getting 14 shots on net.
The Lady Hawks used some precision passing to set up there scores.
Phebe Warren had two assist, and Sullivan Wilkins, Michaela Cushing, Sara Brillanti and Dieckmann each had one.
“When we built that early lead, we were able to relax,” said Warren. “There are no selfish players on this team, and we work so well together. It’s all coming together.”
Heritage made it 2-0 on Dieckmann’s second goal of the contest six minutes after the first goal of the game.
Eckert had one of the most impressive goals of the night, taking the ball away from a Calvary Christian opponent, and dribbling in untouched and getting off a perfect shot 18 minutes into the match for a 3-0 lead.
Dickmann answered with her third goal of the game with about 30 minutes gone in the contest for a 4-0 lead.
Two eighth graders then got into the act for the Lady Hawks with the last goal of the first half.
Cushing took control of the ball just in front of the box, crossed it over to Pfundt who found the mark with still seven minutes left in the first half for a 5-0 lead.
Heritage slowed down the pace of its offense in the second half, but still managed to score three times.
The first goal came less than three minutes into the second half when Eckert gave the Lady Hawks a 6-0 lead.
Calvary Christian had its best chances to score in game i the final 40 minutes, putting five shots on net, but Lillie Smith turned the scoring chances away with some key saves.
Heritage added its final two goal of the game in a span of about a minute when Pfundt scored with 15 minutes left in the contest.
The finally tally came when Eckert added her third goal of the game.
Even after building its 8-0 lead, Heritage didn’t let up. The Lady Hawks set up three corner kick opportunities in the last minute, and Gina Brillanti had two shots on net with about 30 seconds left.