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Heck leads Eagles into quarters

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

SUWANEE -- Sarah Heck started Wednesday's game more than ready to play.

For a game that had been postponed by rain just 22 seconds into play the night before, Heck looked like she stayed loose and ready for the full 24 hours.

The Eagles' senior scored a pair of first-half goals as Collins Hill overwhelmed Roswell for all 79 minutes and 38 seconds played Wednesday for a 2-0 win in the second round of the Class AAAAA girls soccer state playoffs. Collins Hill is scheduled to travel to No. 1-ranked Harrison on Friday for its quarterfinal matchup. Harrison beat Colquitt County 7-0 Tuesday.

The Eagles reached the state's Final Four in 2006, but the two wins so far this postseason are the first two for Heck and the rest of the Eagles' seniors.

"We were really pumped," Heck said of the game's start. "We haven't been this far in a while."

They looked pumped at the start.

As ready as Heck and the Eagles looked at game's start, Roswell appeared the opposite. The Hornets attempted one shot in the first half, a weak roller easily gobbled up by freshman keeper Calli Starr.

"We totally dominated," Collins Hill coach Jeff Tinklepaugh said. "It was a very good start. We came out firing on all cylinders."

Collins Hill and Heck did all the scoring in the first half, and the score had plenty of chance to grow more lopsided.

Roswell's keeper made three saves in the half, but two here on one-on-one scoring chances. Even before the Eagles scored their first goal, they had missed two open opportunities. But in the 26th minute they finally broke through. Freshmen Paige Hoover's first assist found Heck on the left side of the box and the senior banged the ball into the net. A little more than 10 minutes later, Hoover made a long pass up the middle, Heck took it from more than 30 yards out and dribbled through the remaining Hornets for the second goal.

"Paige (Hoover) is very creative," Tinklepaugh said. "She has come out and become a very dynamic player."

But the real offensive dynamism came with a simple move, bringing Heck up from outside midfielder to forward. A lifelong forward, Heck's role with her high school team required her to move back toward the middle. She happily made the move, but when the playoffs hit and Tinklepaugh experimented with her at forward against Woodstock she took off.

"I would much rather play crazy all over the field," Heck said.

And thanks to her efforts, all of Collins Hill gets to keep playing.

The Eagles played Harrison early in the season, losing 1-0 on a late goal. But Heck and Tinklepaugh are both quick to point out that Collins Hill was missing seven of its players to a showcase tournament.

"They are a good team. It will be tough," Heck said. "There have been games all year that we have pulled out. We have beaten some ranked teams."

"I think Harrison will get a completely different look," Tinklepaugh said.