Lowndes girls 3, Valdosta 1
Lowndes’ girls soccer team claimed its third straight Region 1 championship and improved to 12-2 overall and a perfect 6-0 in region play Tuesday night.
“The seniors went out the way they wanted to — they wanted a clean sweep of the region,” Lowndes head coach Chris Willis said. “This is good. I am proud of them. They’ve done a great job. …. A couple of years ago, it was Moultrie and Tifton. We were on the outside looking in and when I took over the program we had not even been in contention. It was always, ‘Who is going to be first and second? Moultrie or Tifton?’ And I guess they have to think about us now. It feels good now.”
The Vikettes built a 2-0 lead early in the second half and added a late goal to secure the win over the Lady Wildcats, who have continued to show improvement throughout the season.
“We need to get ready for the playoffs, so I am glad Valdosta is playing tougher,” Willis said. “Because when we move on, we are trying to do more than just win region.”
Lowndes held just a 1-0 lead at halftime, coming on a goal from Hannah Jo Isaacson in the 13th minute, before adding a goal from Alex Haun just 46 seconds into the second half to take a 2-0 lead.
Isaacson received a pass up the middle and beat the Valdosta defenders on the outside, connecting on the goal from the left side. The Vikettes found the back of the goal five minutes later, but an offside call negated the goal and the score remained 1-0.
From there, Lowndes continued its pressure-filled game plan, but came up empty with misses and nice save attempts from Valdosta, which struggled in the first half and didn’t manage a shot on goal until the 37th minute.
The Lady Wildcats played much better in the second half, cutting into Lowndes’ lead on a goal with 26:50 remaining when Amy Nelson cleared the ball over the head of Vikettes goalkeeper Allison Liu.
The game remained relatively even. Valdosta even had a chance to tie the game with four minutes remaining, but the shot went wide.
Then, Lowndes closed the door on the Lady Wildcats when Elizabeth Lott beat every VHS defender, including the goalkeeper, for an easy game-clinching goal.
“That is the thing about our team, we don’t get excited when we get a goal, we get up two goals we don’t get excited. We just play the same game,” Willis said. “We get down, we get back to work.”
Both Lowndes teams close out the home portion of their schedule Friday with games against Thomas County Central.