Staff Photo: John Bohn Collins Hill's Kaitlyn Del Savio (2) battles Milton's Callie O'Connor during the first half of a state tournament semifinal game Wednesday. Milton defeated Collins Hill 3-1.
MILTON -- Halla Jibreen laid down on the field stretched out. Her head was buried between her arms in the grass.
As she looked up, Milton's girls soccer team celebrated.
It was the first goal allowed by Jibreen and the Collins Hill defense in the state playoffs.
It was also the goal that ended the Eagles' state title run.
Collins Hill lost to No. 1 ranked Milton 3-0 on Wednesday in the Class AAAAA semifinals.
"They had a lot of pressure in the first half and they came after us," Collins Hill coach Jeff Tinklepaugh said.
After losing in the 2004 and 2005 semifinals, Milton will play for its first state championship. The Fulton County school will face the winner of the Northview-Harrison game in Saturday's Class AAAAA state championship. Harrison is the defending state champion and Northview is the 2010 state runner-up.
"This is the first time we've gone this far," Milton head coach Christie Street said.
Collins Hill, which lost in the 2006 semifinals, ends the season 13-7-1. The Eagles were the No. 3 seed out of Region 7-AAAAA and were Gwinnett's last hope for a girls soccer state championship. Collins Hill was a road warrior in the playoffs, beating Dacula (3-0), Lowndes County (2-0) and Lassiter (4-0) to reach the semifinals.
"I'm extremely proud of them. We had to come down from the No. 3 seed," Tinklepaugh said. "We didn't win the region again, but we did what we had to do to get to this point."
It was the second time in a month Collins Hill lost to Milton. The two teams met in the final game of the regular season with Milton pulling out a 1-0 victory.
"When we played them originally, we were down a couple players and getting them healthy and playing full speed, we felt much better," Milton assistant coach Phillip Broome said.
Milton's lineup looked like a college soccer team with nine of the 13 seniors signing scholarships.
"We had to play our best game to come out on top," Tinklepaugh said.
The game's first goal came in the 33rd minute. Callie O'Connor missed her first three shots of the game before the Georgia Southern signee finally got a goal.
Jibreen came out of the goal to a charging O'Connor and the senior chipped it over Jibreen's head and into the goal. It was the first goal allowed by Collins Hill in the playoffs.
"When that goal went in, the girls looked around and saw it let the air out," Broome said. "They knew it was the time to strike."
Collins Hill held Milton's attack to a 1-0 lead at the half.
"I think their heads went down," Tinklepaugh said. "I thought we did a good job not letting a second one. That could have been the dagger."
Collins Hill's Mariah Dickey had the Eagles' only threat at a goal. The Georgia signee had a breakaway and took a shot from the left of the goal right at the goalkeeper.
Milton went up 2-0 after an own-goal by Collins Hill in the 53rd minute. A Collins Hill defender went to pass the ball back to the goalkeeper, but Jibreen was too far out of goal and a bad touch put the ball past her for the goal.
"That kind of hurt big time," Tinklepaugh said.
Milton added its third goal in the 60th minute. Katlyn Stevens had a hard shot from 20 yards out right at Jibreen, who made the initial stop but the ball fell to the ground and rolled in for the 3-0 lead.
"I think the relentless pressure they put on us, we never caught our breathe and got adjusted," Tinklepaugh said.
Collins Hill graduates six starters, but returns a large group of underclassmen which includes five freshman the played consistently.
"I'm extremely proud of them," Tinklepaugh said. "A lot of them have soccer ahead of them beyond high school."