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Girls Athlete of the Week: West Hall's Gabrielle Ligas
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Honor Roll

Soccer

Elexa Bahr, Buford: Scored a pair of goals in a win against Dawson County to clinch the region championship last Monday.

Alexis Rebollar, Chestatee: Tallied four goals in a win against Clarke Central last Tuesday.

Kimberly McNeil, Flowery Branch: Recorded a pair of goals against Cedar Shoals last Tuesday.

Julia Sienkiewicz, Flowery Branch: Scored two goals in a win against Cedar Shoals last Tuesday.

Alyssa Hall, West Hall: Recorded a hat trick in a win against Banks County last Tuesday.

Brie Smith, Buford: Notched a hat trick in a win against Fannin County last Wednesday.

Golf

Morgan Wood, Lumpkin County: Carded a 90 to finish second individually in the Region 8-AAAA tournament at Highland Walk Golf Course last Monday.

Malorie Smith, West Hall: Shot an 84 for a third-place individual finish at the Region 7-AAA tournament at Scales Country Club last Monday.

Meg Callahan, Gainesville: Carded a 78 for a second-place individual finish in the Region 8-AAAAA tournament at Chattahoochee Golf Course last Thursday.

Track

Gabrielle Hoffman, North Hall: Won the girls’ pole vault at the Class AAA state sectional on Saturday.

Jenna Gearing, White County: Won the girls 1600-meter and 3200-meter events at the Class AAA state sectional on Saturday.

Kristen Mitchell, White County: Won the girls 800-meter event at the Class AAA state sectional on Saturday.

Maia Caldwell-Booker, West Hall: Won the 100-meter dash and was on the winning 400-meter relay team at the Class AAA state sectional on Saturday.

LeNiesha Kearse, West Hall: Won the girls 100-meter hurdles and was on the winning 400-meter relay team at the Class AAA state sectional on Saturday.

According to head coach Adam Johnson, West Hall’s Gabrielle Ligas always does one of two things on the soccer field. Either she shines on her own, taking opportunities to score whenever the defense is looking away from her, or she takes a chance to make a play so that someone else can shine.

This season, Ligas has 10 goals and four assists for the Lady Spartans, but her versatility hasn’t always been what stood out in her play.

“She’s progressed the most with her flexibility in play,” Johnson said. “We can play her at forward of midfield, and both of those are pretty different.”

In either position, however, Ligas finds ways to score and help her teammates score. Last week, West Hall defeated Banks County 10-0 in its final regular season game, thanks in part to Ligas’s four goals and two assists.

For her efforts, Ligas is The Times Girls Athlete of the Week.

“It was very nerve-wracking because we understood that we had to win to go to state, but I knew we could do it with our team,” Ligas said. “I knew if I didn’t help our team out, we weren’t going to state.”

As the Lady Spartans (7-6-1) advance to the state tournament for the third season in a row, Johnson expects Ligas to continue her outstanding performances since she even plays hard at practice.

“We practiced (Monday) for the game on Thursday, and she was playing like she would in a game,” Johnson said. “I think what stands out about that is if she does it, others around her will do it.”

Ligas is a Lady Spartan who leads by example. She may not talk much on the field, according to Johnson, but her play speaks for itself, especially her quickness.

“You cannot miss her speed,” Johnson said. “That’s something that takes some of our opponents by surprise is how fast she is, even with the ball.

“That’s kind of rare. She can get the ball and turn it on and just blow past defenders.”

When she does speak out as a team leader, however, the rest of the West Hall team knows to listen.

“As a leader, she is able to pull some of the girls in and work with the girls knowing what the team goals are and what the team’s mission is,” Johnson said.

“Usually I just don’t let our teammates get down,” Ligas said. “I try to lift them up with encouraging words.”

Ligas noted that the team’s mental preparation would be essential for Thursday’s state playoff game against St. Pius X since the Lady Spartans are the underdogs, but Johnson believes his team has been working on the mental game all year long.

“It’s about preparing for games that are going to the entire 90 minutes plus some time, and especially in Dawson County she did a really good job,” Johnson said.

Ligas said the Dawson County game was the biggest of the season for her because the team kept having to come back against a state-ranked team.

“We were down 1-0 and we came back with my goal, and then we were down 2-0 and I had a PK, and it’s just great showing my team that I can help in different ways,” Ligas said.

As for the future, Ligas is looking for opportunities to play in college but is focused on excelling in her senior season.

“I’ve been working really hard to improve my game overall.”

Regional events