Neither North Atlanta, nor the elements, could slow the Glynn Academy girls in their pursuit of a third straight quarterfinals appearance.
The Terrors broke open an exhausting, physical match minutes into the second half to turn a tie into a 3-1 victory in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs Thursday at Glynn County Stadium.
A 4 p.m. start time and a warm, sunny day in the Golden Isles made for a toasty match with on-field temperatures pushing 90 degrees throughout. Even with mandatory water breaks at the 20-minute mark of each half, it was a battle of attrition, especially early on.
Glynn Academy jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal from Emme Ross off a corner kick around 10 minutes into the contest, but starting forward Allana Antah succumb to heat exhaustion for the remainder of the first half soon after.
Losing Antah’s athleticism and speed was a big blow to the Terrors against a physically imposing Warriors team, but the reserves more than held their own.
“Obviously the elements, being so hot and playing so early, kind of threw us out of our rhythm a little bit,” said Glynn girls coach Thomas Lemmon. “We couldn’t keep the girls hydrated enough, that made us make more changes than we normally do, but that’s fine. The players stepped over and helped out in every aspect.”
North Atlanta tied the match on its own corner kick just ahead of the midway point in the first half, but neither team could break the tie before halftime. Lilly Wood was a big reason why.
The Glynn keeper made a crucial save on a shot with 7:30 remaining in the first half, and a multiple-effort play kept another potential goal off the board with 3:30 until halftime.
“She stayed connected the whole game,” Lemmon said of Wood. “Communicating, made the big saves, game management, she had it all today.”
Meanwhile, the Terrors’ subs soaked up some valuable minutes, allowing Antah to return in the second half, and preserving others for a second-half push. And that’s just what Glynn did.
The North Atlanta keeper was called for a late trip inside the penalty box while coming out to attempt a save, setting up Sally Brock with a free kick. Brock promptly drilled the shot to stake Glynn Academy to a lead fewer than five minutes into the second half.
Three minutes later, North Atlanta’s overaggressiveness bit the team again, and a shove on a throw-in set Glynn Academy up with another free kick — this one from around 30 yards outside the net.
Whitley Barbee took the kick and lofted a shot over the North Atlanta defense and into the right corner of the net to extend the Glynn advantage to 3-1 with 28 minutes to play.
“We knew coming in that they were big, strong, physical, anyone coming from the Atlanta area, that’s usually the scouting report that we get,” Lemmon said. “We took advantage of some of their mistakes with the fouls, and we’re happy with the 3-1 win.”
Glynn Academy held North Atlanta at bay for the remainder of the game clock to secure its trip to the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs for the third time in as many postseasons.
Glynn beat Creekview 1-0 on its way to the state title game in 2018, before falling to eventual champion Dacula 6-0 in 2019. This time, Glynn Academy will travel to Buford for its quarterfinal match next week.