Starr’s Mill’s Carly Pressgrove (#15) and Taylor Dowse battle for the ball.
(Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)
The McIntosh boys are off to a special season. Even a powerful Starr's Mill team couldn't hold them back in a 3-0 Chief victory.
Both teams are among the state's finest. Either one should make a deep state playoff run. The AJC has the Chiefs ranked number one in AAAAA and Starr's Mill isn't far behind at five even after Friday's game.
McIntosh, though, is putting together something truly awesome so far. The win over Starr's Mill seals up the region title for the Chiefs. This season also has seen the Chiefs outscore their opponents by an unfathomable tally of 103-1 as part of their 17-0 start. Dominance doesn't begin to describe what they have been able to accomplish so far.
"This is like no year I've ever seen," said McIntosh coach Bunky Colvin. "These guys have earned it everyday. They work hard every day in practice. That's why they're getting the results they are. Player for player it's as solid a group as I've ever seen."
Make no mistake, Starr's Mill made the Chiefs earn their victory. The Panthers are a great team as well.
"This one is always an emotional game. I thought Starr's Mill played a great game," Colvin said of the Panthers. "It's the best I've seen Starr's Mill play this year and they've played some great games. (Coach Mike Hanie) had them very prepared."
It's always excited to watch the teams do battle. It's a fierce and physical match, but the squads have much respect for each other.
"This is a rivalry. We battle with everything we've got for 80 minutes," Colvin said of battling Starr's Mill. "But we always think of it like a brotherly rivalry. When we're done, we're still friends."
This edition of the matchup would be a tricky one. Rain earlier in the day combined with cold temperatures to make for a very slick surface. Players on both sides struggled to gain good footing and a number of players slipped often. One of McIntosh's top players, Adam Sheikali, was lost to an injury. It was not yet know how serious it was. Both teams were probably lucky not to sustain anymore injuries than that.
McIntosh would strike quickly, scoring just minutes into the game. Salomon Lorenzano did the honors. Midway through the first half, the Chiefs scored again. Weston Taylor's crossing pass was corralled and drilled home by Vojta Martinek.
Both sides would have goals waved off early in the second half. McIntosh would put an insurance goal on the board thanks to Chris Perez.
Starr's Mill got a strong effort out of a number of players, including keeper Mitch Pattison who stood strong against a top notch offense.
The state playoffs open next week with both teams ready to go.
Anytime the Lady Chiefs and Panthers get together you can expect a spirited battle. This year's match was no different as McIntosh took a 2-0 victory.
As it is every year, the two Peachtree City schools (along with Whitewater next door) rank among the state's top girls soccer program. They're all back at it. Following Friday's game, the AJC has Whitewater as the top girls team in AAAAA with McIntosh at five and Starr's Mill at six.
With two teams of such high caliber doing battle, it was no surprised to see another tight battle. The victory is a huge one for McIntosh as they look to gain momentum for the push towards a possible third straight championship.
"It was a great win for us," said McIntosh coach Marcia Clark. "I'm so proud of the girls. They really brought it. They did an amazing job. I couldn't be happier with the way they played tonight."
First and foremost, the Chiefs played a spectacular game defensively. The backline allowed precious few opportunities for Starr's Mill. If they got a peak at the goal, keeper Kaitlin Deitrick stopped them cold.
"Our keeper and defense were solid. I couldn't have asked for more," said Clark.
Offensively, one player supplied the fireworks. Gabby Seiler netted both goals for the Chiefs. Seiler's first goal came in the waning minutes of the first half on a gorgeous shot that she bent inside the far post. There were more than a few looks of awe on the sideline. Her second goal game on a direct kick midway through the second half.
"Gabby opened things up for us," Clark said. "She came through for us and that's what great players do."
Starr's Mill would get a couple of good chances to score in the second half but could not convert. Once it was the crossbar that denied a near goal. Another time, the shot sailed high on an open net.
Panthers keeper Paige Betsill did a great job holding the game close by stopping a number of strong looks by McIntosh.
Both the Lady Panthers and Chiefs will open up the state playoffs next week with dreams of a state championship in front of them.