The Long County Blue Tide soccer team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen round of the GHSA AAA state playoffs on Wednesday, April 21. The team did so with a 3-1 win over the Harlem Bulldogs in a game that was not as close as the score indicated.
The Lady Blue Tide played in their first round game on Tuesday, April 20 and fell to the Richmond Academy Musketeers 4-3 in a game that came down to the final minute of play.
The Blue Tide came out looking dominant in the first half. They controlled the ball for most of the first half and outshot the Bulldogs seven to one in the first half.
Welli Ortega had a shot to give his team their first goal of the game after taking a short pass from Carson Futch in the 20th minute. Ortega had a good look from just outside the goalie’s box, but his shot was a little off and banged off the crossbar.
The Tide and Bulldogs were tied at zero going into the half, but the home team came out even hotter in the second half. It took them less than two minutes to get on the board as Gael Franco pushed the ball in from the opposite side of the goal in the 42nd minute to give his team the 1-0 lead.
The Tide continued to push as they outshot the Bulldogs nine to two in the first fifteen minutes of the second half. In the 54th minute, Franco took a pass from Orlando Baltazar and blasted a shot from just outside the box to score his second goal of the game and give his team the 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs finally got a little momentum going as they moved down the field and finally got on their side of the pitch. They took a high shot, but goalie Kamdyn Milliken was able to leap and tip the ball over the crossbar.
Milliken’s impressive save led to a corner kick for the Bulldogs. Harlem finally got on the board after a short shot in the 57th minute to make the score 2-1.
The Tide held onto the ball and allowed just two shots from the Bulldogs for the rest of the game as they recorded 11 more of their own.
In the 63rd minute, the Tide finally got back on the board. Chris Garcia pushed a shot past the Bulldog goalie to give his team some insurance with a 3-1 lead.
The Blue Tide moved on to the win in an impressive victory. They will travel to play the Savannah Arts Academy Panthers on Tuesday, April 27. The Panthers are 8-1-1, ranked number four in the state and defeated Americus-Sumter in the first round 12-2.