Delayed reward: Georgia girls win soccer match

Delayed reward: Georgia girls win soccer match

June 14th, 2014 by Gene Henley in Sports - Preps

Georgia's Haleigh Smith kicks the ball downfield while being guarded by Tennessee's Alex Buccelli during the Tennessee versus Georgia girls soccer all-star game at Finley Stadium on Friday.

Photo by Erin O. Smith/Times Free Press.

One week made all the difference for the Georgia girls' all-star soccer team.

Seven days prior when the match initially was supposed to happen against the Tennessee all-stars, coach Whitney Stinson from LaFayette had only four girls capable of playing, causing the match to be postponed. Friday she had 14, and that core was able to jump out to a two-goal lead and secure a 2-1 win at Finley Stadium.

Defender Lucy Lansing from Rome was named Georgia Most Valuable Player, as she was all over the field trying to hold off the Tennessee attack, which was dangerous at times. Soddy-Daisy's Miranda Smith scored Tennessee's goal and earned MVP honors.

Stinson said her team had a practice Thursday night, and only nine players showed up. Any worries were put to rest as the match wore on, however, especially when a free kick by Cassidy Steele in the 38th minute gave Georgia a 1-0 advantage.

The lead grew to 2-0 when Heritage's Shelby Mullinax assisted future Troy University teammate Mallary Hedden of Cass for a goal in the 55th minute, but Smith's goal four minutes later cut the lead in half. The future King University player received a pass from Baylor's Maggie Crumbliss, cut to the middle of the box and fired a low shot past keeper Ashley Hadenbaugh of Gordon Central.

Smith had another opportunity late in the match, but Hadenbaugh ranged far to her left to punch the ball away.

Tennessee coach Jim Schermerhorn of Notre Dame had his own personnel problems. He had seven players during warmups and 10 when starting lineups were being called. Crumbliss, who also is playing in the Tennessee Valley Open Tennis Championships, arrived at the game just before it began.

Schermerhorn said he had 19 players and three goalkeepers last week but only 11 players and no keepers Friday. Ooltewah's Holly Hall and Deja Scott and GPS's Blakely Fine spent time in goal.

"It was a little frustrating [not having the players]," Schermerhorn said. "We had a number of players that were doing college orientations today."

Tennessee leads the overall series 6-2-1, with the loss ending its four-match win streak.

"All 22 of the players on the field were all-stars," Stinson said. "Our back three -- Lucy, Sierra [Hendrix] and Madeline [Tipton] were phenomenal today; they looked like they'd played together forever.

"It was fun to coach this, and it was fun to win."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.