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Collins Hill boys win defensive battle with Mill Creek

SUWANEE -- It was a showdown for the Region 7-AAAAA boys soccer title and the game didn't disappoint as No. 4 Mill Creek and No. 7 Collins Hill battled through 90 minutes of regulation and a pair of overtimes to a scoreless tie.

But in the end, Collins Hill got the fifth and deciding penalty kick in the back of the net from Amiri Abraham to send the Eagles home with the region crown.

Mill Creek (12-3, 5-2) had taken a 2-1 lead after two rounds of penalty kicks on shots from Tony Baza and Nick Muntean while Collin Hill had missed early shots.

But Mill Creek's next two shooters both hit the left goal post while Collins Hill's Edan Mendoza and Eli Carrasco sent in winners for a 3-2 lead after Round 4.

Ryan Spitler hit his penalty kick to tie it at 3-3 in Round 5, but Abraham was true on his deciding shot and Collins Hill was region champ once again.

"This was two very good teams and Mill Creek has made drastic improvement since last season," said Collins Hill head coach Drew Prentice. "That's not to say they weren't good last year, but this region is so tough and I think you saw a great game tonight. It's a shame that it had to go to penalty kicks tonight, but that's the way it is.

"I'm very proud of the way our team played out there tonight and I think both teams should be proud of the effort they put forth tonight. It says a lot about the quality of teams in this region."

The two teams battled to a scoreless first half with both squads getting scoring chances, but neither one could find the back of the net.

That trend continued in the second half as the game went to overtime, but the two extra five-minute periods couldn't settle the contest.

So penalty kicks decided the region title and now Collins Hill (12-3, 6-1) will advance as the No. 1 seed while Mill Creek will be the No. 2 seed from 7-AAAAA.

In the girls game, Collins Hill scored the final five goals en route to a 6-1 victory over No. 7 Mill Creek.

Paige Hoover connected for two goals and also had an assist as Collins Hill won for the fourth time in its last five contests.

Hoover scored the first goal of the game at 28:55 of the first half to give Collins Hill a 1-0 lead.

Mill Creek, which had a six-game winning streak snapped, answered back quickly at 28:11 when Lauren Tanner scored to tie the game at 1-1.

But Collins Hill exploded with three goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half to take a commanding 4-1 lead.

Hoover got her second goal of the game at 9:39 on a penalty kick to put Collins Hill up to stay at 2-1.

Mariah Dickey, with an assist from Hoover, made it 3-1 Collins Hill with 6:15 remaining in the half.

Margaret Bruemmer finished the scoring flurry with a goal with just 52 seconds to go in the half for the 4-1 Eagles' lead.

Collins Hill finished off Mill Creek in the second half with two more goals, the first coming as Mill Creek gave up an own goal at 27:51 and the final tally coming from Kelsey Lawrence with 6:46 to go in the game.

"We played tonight like we've played in the last two games," said Collins Hill head coach Jeff Tinklepaugh. "We were able to maintain constant offensive pressure and that led to a lot of scoring chances, which we were able to capitalize on.

"We also didn't let them keep any time on the ball. It was a well-played match by our team."

With the win, Collins Hill (9-7, 5-2) moved into third place in Region 7-AAAAA and will be the No. 3 seed out of the region when the state playoffs begin.

Mill Creek (10-4-1, 5-2), which came into contest tied for first place in the region with Peachtree Ridge and North Gwinnett, finishes fourth in the region and will be the No. 4 seed in the state playoffs.

Collins Hill finished with 11 shots on goal and seven corner kicks while Mill Creek managed just three shots on goal and one corner kick.