Lady Warriors open playoffs with Heritage

The regular season is over, and now it's time for the Class AAAA soccer tournament.

The White County Lady Warriors have been a regular participant in the post-season for most of the last decade, and last year the squad made a playoff run that ended in their first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight.

The Lady Warriors will find out today if they might be able to make another deep playoff run when they take on Heritage-Catoosa in a Class AAAA opening round match at 5:30 p.m. in Ringgold.

Heritage comes into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed from Region 6-AAAA. The Lady Generals are 11-3 this season heading into the first round showdown. Heritage ended up in a three-way tie for the Region 6-AAAA title with Northwest Whitfield and LaFayette, but won the region championship and the No. 1 seed thanks to a 1-0 win over Northwest Whitfield during the regular season.

“We're happy with the way the tiebreaker played out,” WCHS head coach Megan Runkle said. “Heritage will not be a push over, by any means, but they are a team that we feel like we matchup with really well. In the last rankings, they were 15th and we are ranked 8th. To be a fourth seed and get to play a team that's ranked behind us, is a confidence boost. But they are a solid team and we have to go over there and do what we need to do.”

Runkle and the Lady Warriors have been preparing for the Lady Generals for almost a week, and are confident heading into the playoff match.

“They play a style similar to what we've seen a lot this year,” Runkle said. “We've scouted them, we've watched film, so we think we have a good game plan. It's a good matchup for us.”

The Lady Warriors have to make the long trip to Ringgold, but Runkle thinks the experience of playing three road playoff games last year will make a difference.

“Of course, you would like to play at home, but we didn't play a home (playoff) game last year, so this isn't anything new for us,” Runkle said. “We'll leave early and stop and eat at Panera Bread. Stopping there seems to be good for us. We'll get to the stadium early, and be able to do all of the things we do at home to get ready for a game.

The Lady Warriors finished off the regular season in grand style last week, blasting West Hall 10-0 in the home finale.

Bella Ramey and Ada Smith each scored four goals in the region win, while Alexis Pashkovets had a goal and an assist, and McKinley Jones scored a goal. Alexis Williams had three assists, Skylar Williams had two assists, and Leah Alexander had two assists.

“We couldn't have asked for a better way to finish off the regular season,” WCHS head coach Megan Runkle said. “We had been struggling to put the ball in the back of the net, but we were able to score some good quality goals (against West Hall). It was a good stepping stone for the playoffs.”

The winner of the first round match will take on Oconee County or Cartersville in the second round on Wednesday, May 1.

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