The Thomasville Lady Bulldogs scored two goals in the second half to defeat the Long County Lady Blue Tide 4-2 Thursday in the first round of the AA girls state soccer playoffs.
Long County has posted back-to-back double-digit-win seasons, but this season the Lady Blue Tide were able to sweep Vidalia twice and earn the No. 2 seed in Region 2-AA.
“We had a good season this year and being able to sweep Vidalia and get the No. 2 seed and be able to host a playoff game for the first time in school history,” Lady Blue Tide coach Brian Todd said.
Thomasville, the No. 3 seed in Region 1-AA, scored the first goal of the game about 20 minutes into the first half. During the final 10 minutes, the Lady Bulldogs deposited a second goal when the ball ricocheted off of the pole of the goal and abruptly fell into the net.
The Lady Bulldogs looked like they were going to cruise to victory when they scored their third goal in the first minute of the second half. However, the Lady Blue Tide were finally able to get on the board when Nakia Hunter scored at the 32-minute mark of the second half.
Leading 3-1, Thomasville started to struggle against a tough midfield defense that kept stopping the Lady Bulldogs from scoring. Long County missed an opportunity to score at the midway point of the second half when the Thomasville goalie came out to block a ball, but the Lady Tide couldn’t get the ball in the net. In the final nine minutes of the game, Lady Blue Tide striker Katie Estill outraced a Thomasville defender and got full leg extension to sail the ball into the net, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
But that was as close as the Tide would get. Thomasville scored its final goal in the last two minutes to ice the game and move on to the second round of Class AA girls state soccer playoffs.
“We played good at times today. Our goalkeeper, Madalynn Flynn, played hard today and made some serious stops for us. We just have to be able to (be) more consistent and put the ball in the net, but I am proud of all the girls,” Todd said.
Long County certainly will be a strong program next season considering that the majority of the starters are underclassmen. But the Tide will miss three departing seniors.
“Flynn, Samantha Garcia, and Alyssa Anderson were seniors that really helped us this season,”
The Lady Blue Tide can be proud of finishing 6-2 in Region 2-AA and getting the second seed in the AA playoffs.
“We played some good teams and had some good wins and were able to host a playoff game. When you look out on the field and see all of the players that are coming back next year, it’s definitely something to look forward to. I think you will see this program continue to improve and hopefully have an opportunity to host another game at home and advance to the next round of the state playoffs,” Todd said.