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Soccer girls advance to 'Sweet Sixteen'
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They were a tense few minutes.

But then the Dawson County varsity girls soccer team did what they do best score goals.

The Lady Tigers were hosting Sonoraville High School (Region 7B-AA) on a hot Friday afternoon in the opening round of 32 teams to begin the Class AA State Playoffs.

The Phoenix (8-9-0) had a plan play a physical but clean game against No. 3 ranked Dawson County (16-2).

The strategy worked until Lady Tigers head coach Jed Lacey made some adjustments to the lineup with some of our enforcers, he said. After about five minutes into the game we started playing Tiger soccer once we got a good feel for what Sonoraville was going to attack us with and how they planned to stop us.

Earning a 4-0 victory against the Phoenix, Dawson County advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the State Playoffs and will host Vidalia High School today at 5 p.m.

After 14 minutes in Fridays game versus Sonoraville, the constant pressure of the Lady Tigers offense paid off as junior forward Brittany Duffy scored her 10th goal of the season with an assist from Mckay Shavely.

I thought the girls played as a team and made some nice combinations working the ball down the field, Lacey said. Overall as a team that might have been one of our best games this year.

Just when Sonoraville thought it had limited the damage in the first half, sophomore midfielder Brooke Duffy struck for her 11th goal of season with only 16 seconds remaining until halftime to put Dawson County up 2-0.

In the second half, Carissa Perez sparked the offense as the senior midfielder and found the back of the net for a pair of strikes just two minutes apart.

Nine minutes after halftime, Riley Cox provided an assist as Perez scored her third goal of the season.

Taylor Benett then fed Perez for the goal that put Dawson County up 4-0 with 28:48 remaining in the game.

Tallying the Lady Tigers 14th shutout of the season, freshman Anela Melton was solid once again in the Dawson County goal.

Melton did a great job running the defense and helped keep the ball out of the net, Lacey said. [She] is a great keeper and along with Keena Seitz, we have two of the best goalkeepers in the state.

Dawson County has now scored 67 goals, while allowing only six this season.

The coach also recognized the play of several freshmen who were called up from the JV squad, including Sara Bywaletz, Summer Armstrong, Summer Sanders and Meghan Picklesimer.

They looked like all-pros, Lacey said. I was so happy for them having success when they were out there.

Overall, the Lady Tigers played 21 girls in the game with eight being freshmen.

Dawson County will take its young roster and turn its attention to todays Sweet 16 State Playoff contest against Vidalia (Region 2-AA).

The Lady Indians (11-4-1) will come to DCHS after knocking off Fitzgerald High School 10-0.