The Winder-Barrow High School girls’ soccer team was in need of a region win Tuesday, March 10.
Unfortunately for the Lady Bulldoggs, perhaps the best team in GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA rolled into W. Clair Harris Stadium. Visiting Gainesville High School (9-1, 3-0 region) scored five second-half goals on its way to leaving town with a 7-1 victory.
Trailing just 2-1 at halftime, WBHS (4-6, 0-4) saw the Lady Elephants take complete control in the second 40 minutes. Gainesville added back-to-back goals in less than a minute for a 6-1 lead with less than 20 minutes left on the clock.
“We hung in there for about 55 minutes,” said WBHS coach Christian Vasquez. “After that it fell apart some, but Gainesville is a very good team, one of the best in the state. We just have to try and forget it and go back to work.”
The loss kept the Lady Bulldoggs winless in region play. Previously, Winder-Barrow had fallen to Lanier (3-2) Habersham Central (3-0) and Dacula (1-0) in region play.
Gainesville took its second two-goal lead of the match with 32:10 remaining after Amayia Lukie scored her second goal. Chandler Baudin’s goal with just more than 25 minutes left sealed the victory for the Lady Elephants.
Gainesville controlled the first 20 minutes of the match playing almost exclusively on Winder-Barrow’s end of the field. The Lady Elephants cashed in on their first goal of the night at the 23:12 match.
The first legitimate scoring threat of the match for WBHS came with 16:30 remaining in the opening half. The Lady Bulldoggs drew Gainesville keeper Marlyn Blanco off the net but could not complete the scoring opportunity.
The Lady Elephants increased their lead to 2-0 on a goal by Lukie with 13:20 still on the first half clock.
WBHS stayed in the contest on a penalty kick by Alexis Thao with 10:18 left in the first half, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
Goalkeeper Payton Babb was under constant fire in the first half and even more so in the second 40 minutes. She made two solid saves in a span of 10 seconds with 15 minutes left and two more within a short span with approximately seven minutes remaining on the scoreboard.
“We have to start taking advantage of our chances,” Vasquez said. “That has been the story of our season. We’ll get ready for Apalachee. I know the girls will be mentally ready for that one.”
WBHS will travel to Apalachee on Friday, March 13. Match time is 5:30 p.m. at R. Harold Harrison Stadium.