Lion tamers: Spartans easily handle Lovett

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

ATLANTA -- Greater Atlanta Christian's girls soccer team was given its first loss of the season two weeks ago. To make it even worse, the Spartans had to wait this long to get that taste out of their mouth.

Behind a flurry of shots, the No. 2-ranked Spartans took a big 4-0 win over No. 3 Lovett on Tuesday. The victory puts the Spartans (11-1, 5-1) in position to lock up the No. 2 seed in the area. The win was gratifying after losing to area frontrunner and No. 1-ranked Blessed Trinity two weeks ago on penalty kicks.

"We needed to put a stamp on this one," GAC coach Troy Bendickson said. "We needed to make a statement to everyone."

GAC's boys wasted little time in their 5-1 win over Lovett.

The No. 1-ranked Spartans (12-2, 7-0) got two goals from Denzel Clarke in the first four minutes to cruise to the win over the No. 7 Lions. GAC will play Westminster on Friday for the area championship.

"I thought we would be able to play well," GAC coach Thom Jacquet said. "I was a little concerned coming off spring break."

Clarke recorded the hat trick in the 35th minute and added his fourth goal in the final minute before the half. The junior made it 5-0 with his fifth goal in the 60th minute and all of the starters were pulled.

"He's finding it," Jacquet said. "He's such a big presence and can score."

In the girls game, Kelsey Pelletier scored on a penalty kick in the 23rd minute. Chelsea Gandy-Cromer almost made it 2-0 just two minutes later, but her goal was whistled offside.

The senior got the goal back in the 28th minute on a nice assist from Rachel Garcia to really put GAC ahead 2-0. Garcia almost had a goal of her own when her powerful shot hit the crossbar. The Spartans could have had a bigger lead at halftime if it wasn't for Lovett goalkeeper Hope Barker, who made 10 saves.

Gandy-Cromer scored her second goal in the 61st minute to put the game out of reach. It was the 27th of the season for the Auburn signee.

"She always plays well," Bendickson said. "She has a lot of heart and passion."

After two near misses, Garcia finally scored in the 73rd minute off a deflection from a free kick just outside the box.

It was the eighth shutout of the season for GAC goalkeepers McKenzie Nelson and Elizabeth White and the Spartans' defense of Anna Douglas, Kailey Bryan, Anna Arnau, Ashley Williams, Kelsey Fervier and Emma Davis.

"We've been solid on defense all year," Bendickson said.