published Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Area soccer teams ranked high

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    Dalton with Eder Mora (11) is ranked No. 1 in Georgia AAAA soccer, and Southeast Whitfield with Victor Garcia, left, is eighth.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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Calhoun boys' soccer coach Matt Rice has guided his team to an 8-0 record and a combined score of 58-1. As impressive an accomplishment as that is, it's not quite as good as what his father Randy is doing for the Lady Yellow Jackets, who have outscored opponents 61-0 in the same number of games.

Both teams are ranked in the latest Eurosportscoreboard.com polls, with Calhoun's boys being ranked second in Class AA and Lady Yellow Jackets ranked fifth.

"It's a privilege to coach alongside him. I grew up watching him and he taught me everything I know about the sport," Matt said. "We're pretty excited about the seasons we're having here, but we know what matters is what happens in the state playoffs. The road to the state tournament always goes through Atlanta."

Calhoun's programs are among the 15 area teams ranked in the state polls. The Dalton boys in Georgia Class AAAA and Baylor in Tennessee's Division II-AA are ranked first — with McCallie fifth — and the Heritage girls are second in Georgia AAAA.

In Tennessee A/AA, Chattanooga Christian is ranked third and No. 7 Notre Dame hosts No. 9 East Hamilton tonight. Cleveland is ranked ninth in Class AAA.

In Georgia, the Northwest and Southeast Whitfield boys are fifth and eighth in Class AAAA, while the North Murray boys are 10th in AAA. In Alabama, both Fort Payne teams are ranked, with the boys fourth and the girls eighth.

Bartlett assists mom

While GPS tennis coach Sue Bartlett was in Turkey playing in the ITF Senior World Team Championships -- helping Great Britain to a second-place Women's 55 finish -- she received a handy assist from her daughter Claire in helping with team practices.

The Bruisers were scheduled to play in Atlanta at the Buckhead Rotary tournament during Sue's absence, with the younger Bartlett assisting Meg Bandy, but the event was canceled. Claire, a three-time state champion at GPS who played collegiately at Virginia and Florida, is in nursing school in Knoxville and won't be with the Bruisers when they play in the Rotary tournament this weekend, but she could rejoin them in late April.

Sue Bartlett arrived back in town just in time for GPS's spring break, so she didn't have a feel for how the team responded to her daughter's coaching.

"Claire has done the stuff to be listed as one of the coaches," Sue said.

Rotary ahead

The 57th annual Rotary Tennis Invitational tournament will start Friday morning at Baylor, GPS and McCallie. Baylor will host all of the "A" division matches, while GPS and McCallie will be the sites of the "B" division girls and boys, respectively.

Baylor swept the A division titles a season ago for the second straight season, while the Knoxville Catholic boys and Randolph girls won in the B division.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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