The Dawson County High School varsity girls soccer team showed why it holds a No. 7 ranking in the state in Class AAA.
The Lady Tigers overcame a sluggish first half to defeat Fannin County, 3-0, March 4.
Coach Jed Lacey's team picked up its fourth win of the season with an exciting penalty kick win, 4-3, over visiting Cartersville on March 7.
The team is currently 1-0 in Region 7-AAA.
Dawson County is now 4-0-2 overall.
The first half was an unexpected defensive battle with Fannin County at home. Neither team was able to find the back of the net as evidenced by the 0-0 score at halftime.
Ava Walker finally put Dawson County on the scoreboard with 30:26 remaining in the second half.
Walker, a freshman, scored her first goal of the season on a pass from Brooke Cagle that put Dawson County up 1-0.
Sixteen minutes later Taylor Bennett added a second goal on a penalty kick that pushed Dawson's lead to 2-0.
Bennett added a second goal with 6:25 remaining to seal the victory, it was Bennett's fifth goal of the season.
Goalie Anela Melton picked up her third shutout of the season.
"We got the win, but we still are not playing well. We have got to pass better. We need to pick up the pace of our game. The good thing is I am unhappy with how we are playing but we still are undefeated, so I guess that is a good thing," Lacey said.
"Taylor Bennett stepped up huge tonight and played one of the best games of her career. Taylor is a brilliant player. Taylor's size and strength make her tough to match up to," Lacey added. "We also found a diamond in the rough tonight. We gave freshman Ava Walker a chance to show what she is all about tonight and she definitely did that."
On Friday, Dawson County had a huge first half against Cartersville (5-1) and jumped out to a 3-1 lead by halftime on goals by Ava, McKay Shively and Emily Queen.
Picking up assists on those goals were Bennett with two and Tina Libao.
But Cartersville showed in the second half why they are a tough team to play. The Lady Hurricanes tightened up their defense and added two goals offensively to tie the score at 3-3 that sent the game into overtime.
After two five minute overtime periods, the game came down to penalty kicks.
Dawson County outscored Cartersville 4-2 on PK's to take the 4-3 victory.
Scoring on the penalty kicks were Bennett, Libao, Shively and Suzanne Eckert.
Goalie Melton blocked the first PK by Carterville that gave Dawson County an advantage.
"She is doing a tremendous job in goal this season. Anela has ice water in her veins. She is calm and cool in any situation. Her maturity level is beyond her years. That was a big save on the opening penalty kick. That save set the tone," Lacey said.
The loss was Cartersville's first of the season.
"What a game," Lacey said. "This is what I wanted to see, us stepping up to the challenge of an undefeated Cartersville team. Cartersville is a good team, with some great talented young front players. We looked good tonight. Still needing to work on parts of our game to make us a better ball club, but there is no doubt we made big strides in getting where we want to be as a team," Lacey said.
The team will play at the prestigious Tournament of Champions in Jekyll Island this weekend.
Dawson County will open with Mt. Pisgah at 5 p.m. Thursday. On Friday, Lacey's team will play at 5 p.m. against Redan High School. Saturday, Dawson County will have a tough match-up with Statesboro High School at 11:30 a.m.