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North Hall pulls off soccer sweep of Gainesville
Gainesville High’s Raquel Castillo, right, intercepts Trice Sweet’s pass during the first half of the Red Elephants’ game with North Hall Thursday afternoon at Bobby Gruhn Field at City Park. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

GAINESVILLE — For both the North Hall girls’ and boys’ soccer teams, Thursday night’s games against Gainesville were must wins.

The third-ranked Lady Trojans came in looking to preserve an undefeated record in region play, their male counterparts were hoping to keep their state playoff hopes alive.

Both goals were accomplished.

Led by Allie Wright’s two goals, the North Hall girls (13-2, 10-0 Region 7-AAA) beat Gainesville 3-0 to earn a seventh-straight shutout.

For the boys, Payne Wright and Tony Gonzalez each scored a goal to lead the North Hall boys (9-5-1, 6-4 Region 7-AAA) to a 2-0 win over Gainesville at Bobby Gruhn Field.

“We talked a little bit about what a win would mean (Wednesday),” North Hall coach Kenny Childs said. “The kids understand that we’re not out of it, but that we are looking for help from other people.”

Wright got it started for the Trojans in the 19th minute when he scored on an indirect free kick from 15-yards out.

Six minutes later Gonzalez one touched a cross from Marcos Llanas to give North Hall all the goals it would need to pull out the win.

“The biggest thing tonight was that the guys came in and played from start to finish,” Childs said. “(Getting a fast start) was huge because it allowed us to just play and allowed us to slow the game down.”

Gainesville (10-3) came into the game averaging 2.9 goals per game and having scored nine goals against White County in its last game.

North Hall’s defense kept the potentially high-powered attack at bay, however, allowing just 12 shots on goal for the night.

Goalkeeper Daniel Powers earned his sixth shutout of the season with the win.

“I said (Wednesday) that we needed big games from several players and we got that,” Childs said. “Payne (Wright) was huge,
Daniel (Powers) was huge — our defense has led the way all year long and once again they did it tonight.”

North Hall’s region season is now complete, but it will return to action at 5 p.m. April 14 at Walker. Gainesville next plays at Mill Creek at 7:30 p.m. April 11.

The North Hall girls allowed only one shot on goal by Gainesville — off a free kick — in the first half setting the tone for a dominating win.

The Lady Red Elephants managed four shots on goal for the game to North Hall’s 15.

With the win, the three North Hall seniors — Mary Mancin, Bradee Burrell and Julia Matthews — finished their region careers with only one loss and 36 wins.

Allie Wright made it 1-0 North Hall in the 18th minute thanks in part to a pass from Julia Matthews, and in part to Gainesville goalie Hong Tran losing her footing on the wet field.

Despite the Lady Trojans scoring three goals, Tran was stellar in goal for Gainesville (8-4, 4-3) with 12 saves.
Senior Julia Matthews scored North Hall’s second goal off a pass from sophomore Tess Patton.

North Hall’s third and final goal of the game came in the 18th minute when Wright scored on a breakaway in which she chipped the ball just out of reach of a sliding Tran.

North Hall returns to action at 6 p.m. April 13 when it plays host to Oconee County. Gainesville next plays at 5:30 p.m. April 11 at Mill Creek.

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