Lady Purple Hurricanes advance in state soccer playoffs
by David Royal
May 03, 2014 | 713 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cartersville advanced to the second round of the state girls soccer playoffs with an impressive 4-0 victory over West Hall on Friday night.

The Lady Canes scored two goals in each half to claim the victory.

Chad Murray, Cartersville head coach, said it was a big win for his players, one they will remember.

“The last three years they’ve lost in the first round of the playoffs so this means a lot,” he said.

He said the Lady Purple Hurricanes played with a lot of determination against West Hall.

“West Hall has a great team and played well,” Murray said. “It was one of those nights where we just seemed to be in the right place mentally. Everything just worked for us. It’s not just about being physically ready in soccer. You have to be mentally ready to go, and I think we were ready to go and do what we needed to do to get a win.”

Stefanie Will, a team leader who also scored one of the team’s goals, said she and her fellow seniors wanted to leave their mark with a playoff victory.

“It feels really good to get the win,” she said. “It feels like all the hard work we put in during the season is paying off.”

She said hosting the game at Weinman Stadium helped provide a supportive crowd for the match.

“We had a bunch of fans here who were cheering us on,” she said. “It built up our momentum and helped get us going.”

The Lady Canes had hosted the game by virtue of being a No. 2 seed in its region.

Ashton Sanders opened scoring for Cartersville in the game’s 22nd minute.

Molly Acuff fired a pass downfield to Sanders, who outmaneuvered a West Hall defender to take possession of the ball, which she dribbled down to about 18 yards out and fired to the left of the keeper into net.

The Lady Canes increased their lead about six minutes later when Will dribbled down the right side and passed to Sydney Miller who took the ball near the right boundary and skipped it slowly back to Will, who fought off two West Hall defenders and then made a beeline toward the keeper, drawing her out of the box. Before the keeper could cover enough of the distance, Will flicked the ball just to her right from about 14 yards out and Cartersville had a 2-0 lead in the 28th minute that was carried into the halftime break.

Cartersville stretched its lead again when Emily Alters buried a shot from 12 yards out into the net in the 57th minute.

Chloe Davis closed out scoring in the 57th minute when she scored from 14 yards out after getting an assist from Anna Phillips.

Cartersville’s Abby Robinson got the shutout in save, as she turned away about half a dozen shots, including one gem that she caught with her palm and brushed away just over the net.

Murray also cited the defensive work of Acuff and Victoria Everhart.

“They’re the backbone of our defensive front and they’re just invaluable to us,” the coach said. “They worked so hard, harder than anybody on the field. They were the difference tonight.”

Murray said Cartersville also played well offensively.

“If we play like we did tonight, we can [compete] with any team,” Murray said. “Earlier in the season ... we’d take shots with very difficult angles. We’ve been working on that and once we get the ball downfield, we try to get it back to the middle and just drop the ball into the middle ... to get some easier looks on goal. We missed four or five shots tonight that were great looks, too.”

Cartersville improved to 15-3 overall with the victory. It plays the winner of the Decatur/North Oconee match, expected to be played Wednesday. Cartersville would host Decatur but visit North Oconee.