Seniors Cate Williams and Claire Hiller knocked in two goals each to lead Bulloch Academy to a 5-0 victory over Terrell Academy in the first round of the GISA Class AAA state soccer playoffs Friday.
Bulloch (9-5) held a slim 1-0 through intermission but had four second-half scores to put the game away.
“It always takes us about a half to feel out another team,” said BA head coach Matt Meeks. “At halftime, we can talk and get to re-gear and re-focus.”
The Lady Gators advance to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season and will travel to Atlanta early next week to face Holy Spirit Prep. The Lady Cougars beat John Milledge Academy 5-2 in another first-round game on Friday.
“Holy Spirit Prep beat us last year 2-1 in the second round,” remembers Meeks. “We had a 1-0 lead until midway through the second half. They got two goals in the last 25 minutes.”
Against Terrell Friday, Bulloch drew first blood early in the opening period.
In the 38th minute, Williams got free in Lady Eagle territory and dribbled down the right side. She booted a spectacular pass to Hiller, who was in front of the net in the box. The senior tapped the ball into the net for the opening score.
Terrell’s keeper did a good job of stopping shot from Williams, Hiller and fellow senior Ashley Burke. On the other end of the field, senior defender Pate Lomax was intimidating at the center back.
“She’s tall and physical,” said Meeks. “She can move well and cover a lot of ground. She knows what she needs to do with the ball.”
The second half started off much like the first, with the Lady Gators notching a quick score. Williams pounded a shot past the TA keeper in the 37th minute for a 2-0 lead.
But Terrell stepped up its attacks on goal, giving BA senior keeper Page Spence a work out.
“Page is consistent,” said Meeks. “I truly believe that she is one of the best keepers in the state. Throughout her career, she has kept us in many, many matches.”
Lomax, along with senior Kristin Kingery and freshman Kyra Samuels, deflected and stole passes to help Spence keep the BA net clean.
Bulloch added three more goals — Burke in the 35th minute, Williams in the 23rd minute and Hiller in the 10th minute — to ensure the win.
“Running three forwards for the entire game wears down a defense,” said Meeks. “It helps create better alleys and lanes and gives us a better look at the goal. It also helps to have three seniors up there who can finish it.”