The First Presbyterian Christian Academy girls’ soccer team will play in the state semifinals at 4:30 p.m. today — but the road there wasn’t easy.
There were a few breathless moments during FPCA’s 3-2 win over Brookwood School on Tuesday afternoon at St. James Sports Center’s soccer field. Within minutes, the ‘Landers trailed 1-0.
Lady ’Lander fans gasped when, just a few minutes later, a penalty kick soared over goalkeeper Megan Higgason’s reach to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
But the ’Landers refused to disappoint their fans. With seven minutes left before halftime, FPCA’s Aaliyah Wilson took the ball downfield and charged toward Brookwood’s goalkeeper. Beating the goalkeeper by a step, Wilson slammed the ball into the net, and the home team was on the score board.
Trailing by one, it took FPCA just a few ticks of time in the second half to tie the game, 2-2, off a Kelsey Higgason goal.
The game stayed knotted as time kept winding away. As the fans sat on the edge of their seats, Higgason took the ball downfield. With three players attempting to block her shot, Higgason lobbed the ball just over the goalkeeper’s glove giving FPCA the 3-2 advantage.
Brookwood had about five minutes to undo the damage and drove the ball into the Highlanders’ territory four times.
But the Highlanders protected their goal to take the win and earn a spot in the state tournament’s final four.
The FPCA girls took 17 shots on goal and allowed only six.
“We didn’t give up,” FPCA soccer coach Tom Sukaratana said. “A lot of times when you are trailing players hang their heads down, but they didn’t.”
Today’s opponent, The Heritage School, was last year’s state runners-up.
FPCA is 12-1 overall and 6-0 in Region 4-AA, The Heritage School is 13-1 overall and 7-1 in Region 1-AA.
Being the higher ranked team the Lady Landers will host Heritage. The winner will head to the championship game, which is scheduled for May 12, and will face either face Gatewood or Terrell.
“I think we are ready,” he said. “Physically, we are ready. We just have to get mentally prepared. We have to be on top of our game within the first 15 minutes. We can’t play catch up like we did today.”
The championship game is being hosted by Frederica Academy, last year’s Class AA champs.
Frederica was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Terrell.