NEWNAN - The top-ranked Parkview girls have played two and a half games of tight soccer in the state tournament.
The Panthers were nothing short of dominant and broke out in the second half of Saturday's Class AAAAA quarterfinal match against Newnan for a 4-0 victory on the road.
Sophomore Kim Spence scored the game's first two goals, bringing her season total to 19, and then was able to come out with 20 minutes left. Junior Morgan Mitchell and sophomore center midfielder Maureen Buff added two more goals after that to shut the door on No. 12 Newnan.
"No matter what the result, 7-0 is no different than 1-0, and we know that," Parkview head coach Judson Hamby said. "Attacking-wise, we've got nice build as we go forward, we've just got to have players continue to get hungry and get better as we get later in the playoffs."
The second half was just what Hamby was looking for out of his undefeated Panthers, ranked No. 1 in the state and the nation.
Hamby used the whole halftime to talk things over with the girls, who were sitting on a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes.
"We needed a pep talk," senior Morgan Kammer said.
Newnan had control in the game's opening minutes. But that didn't last long and when it was over, Parkview (20-0) began to show why it's so highly regarded.
Spence, after having a couple good scoring chances gobbled up by Newnan goalkeeper Kayla Curtis, got a feed from KiKi Nelson on the right side. Spence used a little toe touch to get past the defender and booted the ball home with 7:34 left in the first half.
Parkview, accustomed to playing in tight games after advancing on 2-1 and 1-0 wins in the first two rounds, was composed despite the close score.
"We were outshooting them, outcrossing them, but I felt like the final product wasn't there in the first half," Hamby said. "So, with that, the second half we made better adjustments. We had individual players coming out playing better and overall it was a solid team effort in the second half."
Newnan (13-5) had a few rushes into the Panthers' side of the pitch, but those were quickly defused by a defense that has allowed a paltry six goals all season. Even a developing 3-on-2 was smoothly nullified by senior Abby Batchelor about 10 minutes into second half.
Minutes later, Spence got free again.
Left uncovered in the goal box, Spence had keeper Curtis dead to rights and buried her shot into the far bottom corner in the 54th minute. Caroline Kilday assisted on the tally.
"To be honest with you, we were kind of hoping they would test us a little bit more," Hamby said. "But we really felt like after we scored the first goal, they just kind of set back, and it was kind of weird. We really felt like they would start sending players forward to try and get the equalizer.
"But they didn't and it made us free to kind of go forward a lot more."
Less than 90 seconds after Spence came out of the game, Kammer set up Mitchell's goal. Kammer was in deep and centered a perfectly placed ball. Mitchell, in traffic on top of the goal box, sent the ball home on a second tap in the 61st minute.
Buff salted away the win with her goal in the 68th minute.
"Maureen Buff had an amazing game," Kammer said. "She's been very solid all through the playoffs, but she's a center mid and you don't really see her. She's extremely, extremely solid in the midfield. She holds it together."
The Region 8-AAAAA champs suffocated Newnan - a team which had outscored its opponents 11-0 in the first two rounds of the state playoffs - for the duration. Parkview got its 15th shutout of the season.
"I think we just definitely played better as a team today," Kammer said, comparing the win to the Panthers' previous two. "Our passes were a lot crisper, but our defense played incredible.
"I think 4-0 was a good score. The last two games, we played solid and we barely squeaked by. We've been playing solid soccer, we just haven't put away the game when we needed to.
"We definitely shut the door today."
Parkview, which earned a share of last year's state title, will play the winner of the Harrison-Union Grove game in the semifinals on Wednesday.