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Wildcats, Lady Cats ready for state playoffs
soccer 1 team
The Richmond Hill High School Wildcats clinched a No. 3 seed by beating Evans on Tuesday. - photo by John Wood

Playing with an adjusted lineup on Tuesday night, Richmond Hill defeated Evans High School to grab the No. 3 seed in the Class AAAA soccer tournament. The Wildcats won, 6-4, in a penalty-kick shootout after two five-minute overtime sessions.

"We don’t really practice PKs a lot. I just tell my players to place the ball where it’s comfortable and don’t over kick the ball. We were able to beat Glynn this time with a PK. The big difference for us was our keeper, Joel Heiser. He stopped two balls tonight," Richmond Hill coach Robbie Flanders said.

Heiser had nine saves in the game.

Richmond Hill is coming off a disappointing 4-2 loss Friday against fourth-ranked Greenbriar.

"We played really well and I think that we outplayed them, but we scored a goal late in the game and it was reversed, and that really changed the course of the game," Flanders said.

Evans took a fast lead, scoring within the first four minutes. Juuwan Gaul found Drew Gregerson open to tie the game, 1-1.

The game remained stalemated through the second half and both overtime periods.

Justin Carrillo, Austin Ravita, Jonathan Hattala, Canon Rooker, and Gregerson all had PK goals for the ’Cats.

Flanders admitted that it was hard to get his team up for the Evans game because the Wildcats knew they would have to travel in the first round of the playoffs.

"We had to get motivated against Evans, but it’s like I told them: We either play a weaker team now as a three seed or the best team as a four seed," Flanders said.

Richmond Hill will travel to fourth seed Bainbridge from Region 1-AAAA on Tuesday. The match gets under way at 6 p.m.

"We know about the travel. This is one of the whole reasons that we played Tift. It was a long ride for us, but we had to still get off the bus and play. Tift was a higher classification and ranked opponent, and that is the best soccer that we have played all year," Flanders said.

The Wildcats improved to 14-3.

In girl’s soccer, Richmond Hill led for 74 of 80 minutes of the region championship, but Greenbriar deposited two goals in the final six minutes for a 4-2 victory in the Region 2-AAAA championship game at Greenbriar High School on Tuesday night.

"It was really a wonderful game. We played a great game. The wind was a little bit of a factor for us, and we have had some injuries so we had some players playing out of position," Richmond Hill coach Steve Kollman said.

The Lady Wildcats took an early lead with Sarah Goolsby scoring off of a pass from Rachel Blitchington 18 minutes into the first half.

Goolsby returned the favor, setting up Blitchington for the second Richmond Hill goal.

Greenbriar scored its first goal 20 minutes into the first half and tied the game minutes later.

"Greenbriar was a good team. They were physically faster than us and had a 5-feet-11 girl that was an Abby Wambaugh type that could head any air ball. We had her locked down most of the game but our legs just got to us late," Kollman said.

Despite the speed advantage that Greenbriar possessed, the Lady ’Cats played a strong possession, allowing them to control the game until the final six minutes.

Richmond Hill goes to 14-5 and 9-4 in Region 2. The Lady ’Cats become a No. 2 seed in the Class AAAA girls’ soccer tournament and will host a team from the Warner Robbins area next week.

"We will play Wednesday. We are not exactly sure who the opponent will be or what the exact start time would be. Since it is a school night, I believe it would probably be either a 5-6 p.m. start, especially since the boys are going to be on the road at Bainbridge," Kollman said.

Richmond Hill’s girls’ program has made 13 consecutive appearances in the state playoffs.

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