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Chestatee girls shut out Heritage in AAAA soccer first round
Yarck scores twice in Lady War Eagles' victory
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Heritage's Sydney Eaker (13) runs beside Chestatee's Sadie Foote (10) during the Chestatee's 3-0 win in the opening round of the Class AAAA state tournament on Tuesday - photo by Erin O. Smith

Alyssa Yarck was determined to get another goal for Chestatee, one way or the other.

Her through pass set up fellow Lady War Eagles forward Sadie Foote for a golden opportunity to score. Then, when Foote’s shot missed, Yarck collected the rebound after a scramble that included teammate Megan Dew keeping the ball in-bounds and attempting a shot, and Yarck put home her second goal of the night about four minutes into the second half.

The sophomore’s persistence gave second-seeded Chestatee a two-goal cushion en route to a 3-0 first-round Class AAAA playoff victory against third-seeded Heritage (Ringgold) on Tuesday night at War Eagle Stadium.

“We needed that,” Yarck said.

Chestatee coach Mark Dunn said opportunities like Yarck’s second-half goal were there in the first half, but the execution wasn’t. Then the sophomore gave the War Eagles some cushion for the final 36 minutes.

“She fought for it,” Dunn said. “That’s what we need to see on offense.”

It’s the second playoff win in the Chestatee girls soccer program’s history, and the Lady War Eagles (13-6) will make it consecutive postseason home games for the first time ever when they welcome No. 4 seed West Laurens in next Tuesday’s second round. West Laurens upset Thomas County Central, 5-4, on Wednesday.

That West Laurens win helped Chestatee avoid a nearly five-hour trip to Thomasville next week.

Foote, a Middle Georgia State signee, added an insurance goal off a Stacey Mendoza assist with less than eight minutes remaining. Her score came after Dunn briefly pulled her out after some offsides calls and encouraged her to go back out and show her leadership.

“I was determined to get a goal,” Foote said.

Mendoza’s cross in the box set up Yarck’s first goal, as well, a mere four minutes into the contest.

After a flurry of missed scoring chances in the first 40 minutes left the Lady War Eagles with a 1-0 edge at the half, Foote said she and her teammates kept pushing.

“We told each other that we just needed to keep talking and stay positive and just to stay on our toes,” Foote said.

Dunn said his players stuck to the game plan in the final 40 minutes.

“I told the midfield at half, ‘Just keep pressing. Keep the ball wide instead of trying to play back to the middle. Keep making those crosses,’” Dunn said. “It just pays off. We chipped away at it.”

Tyler Bennett was in goal for the shutout for Chestatee. Dunn said sweeper Samantha Addington paced a defense that was strong all the way around.

The victory is the 308th in Dunn’s 34 years as a head coach, extending his final season before retirement by at least one more game.

Heritage finished the season 6-6-1.

“It’s an 80-minute game, right, not 40 minutes,” Heritage coach Desiree Robinson said. “I think it was that first goal that got us. It really just broke us down.”

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