Special to thecrescentbuzz.com By John Bowen & Staff Reports
EVANS, Ga. — The Starr’s Mill Lady Panthers are headed back to a place of potential redemption.
Thanks to a 4-2 semifinals win at Greenbrier Tuesday night, the Starr’s Mill was able to punch its ticket to its second straight Class AAAAA championship game. Last year the Panthers settled for runner-up status to in-county rival McIntosh. But this year, the Lady Chiefs have already been eliminated, which sets the stage for a title game clash with Northgate (16-5, 9-1) on Friday.
The final obstacle toward the season finale proved to be a difficult one, as Greenbrier jumped out to 2-0 lead in the opening 30 minutes. Despite the Panthers having chances with Kayla Feigenbaum hitting the crossbar and forcing a finger tip save, two long throws created two goals for the Wolfpack.
The Panthers shook off the sluggish start, however, and battled back, starting with Riley Clark’s header cut the lead to 2-1 with eight minutes left in the half. It was Region 4-AAAAA Player of the Year Lauren Yoss who picked Clark out on a corner to set up the score.
Then, as much as the first half was dominated by Greenbrier, the second half was all Starr’s Mill.
Just four minutes in Clark tied the game when she tapped in a scramble in the six box, followed by Carly Pressgrove setting up the go-ahead goal.
It happened when Pressgrove flicked a throw from Yoss, which Clark headed back to Pressgrove who popped it over her head to keep it in play. The ball then fell to Kayla Feigenbaum who finished it in on touch to make it 3-2, Starr’s Mill.
From there it was pure, hard-nosed defense from Dylan Patterson, a bloodied Ashton Nowicki, Chayla Park and Hannah Fertig down the stretch to keep Greenbrier at bay.
Macey Voorhies, Broderick and Pressgrove controlled the midfield keeping the ball deep in the attacking end.
Paige Betsill came up with two huge saves to keep Starr’s Mill in the match early and kept the back quiet late. Clark iced the match with 2 minutes left as Feigenbaum found her in front of the net and Clark made it 4-2 to end any thoughts of a comeback.
Starr’s Mill upped its record to 17-5 and will face Northgate (17-5) Friday, May 15th, at 5:00 pm in the 5A Girls State Final. The match will be the third of a four match set at Mercer University in Macon.
The Lady Panthers are looking for their first soccer state crown since they won the Class AAAA title in 2010. Northgate will be looking for its second state championship since 2013.