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Hawks' Tanner scores four goals to beat North

HOSCHTON -- Lauren Tanner scored four goals and rallied Mill Creek to a 4-2 win over North Gwinnett in a crucial Region 7-AAAAAA girls' soccer matchup at Markham Field.

It was a fitting performance on Mill Creek's Senior Night as Tanner tallied all four goals for the Hawks and hit the 30-goal mark in her senior season.

More importantly, Mill Creek moved to 11-2-1 overall and remained perfect in 7-AAAAAA with a 6-0 mark.

"North came out very intense and took it to us," said Mill Creek girls' head coach Brent Leitsch. "But it was Melissa Hanken finding Lauren Tanner for our first goal that got us going. North battled back, but started to build on our intensity, find our opportunities and capitalized. Then we got the save on the (penalty kick) from Rachel Allred and we got stronger as the game went out."

North (7-8, 4-3) broke on top first as Taylor Burns picked up a loose ball and found the back of the net in the upper right corner for a 1-0 lead with 26:36 left in the first half.

Mill Creek, ranked No. 3 in the state, came right back and evened the contest at 1-1 when Tanner scored on a pass from Hanken at the 22:02 mark.

The two teams traded goals in the final 13 minutes of the opening half, but the critical save by the senior goal keeper Allred turned the momentum in the Hawks' favor.

Burns scored her second goal of the game to give North a 2-1 lead at 12:40, but Allred came up with the save on Burns' penalty kick less than two minutes later after a foul on Mill Creek.

That kept the margin at one goal and Tanner answered for Mill Creek with 6:05 remaining to make 2-2 at the half.

In the second half, Mill Creek got two more goals from Tanner and shut down the North offense to take the two-goal win.

Tanner scored her third goal of the night on a penalty kick with 24:29 left in the game to give Mill Creek a 3-2 advantage.

Then the University of Georgia signee completed her four-goal game with a shot into the right side of the net to seal the deal for Mill Creek with 7:20 remaining.

"It was intense tonight because we haven't beaten North," said Tanner. "And since it was Senior Night, we wanted to play well. But Taylor Burns is a great player and came out on fire for (North). Then we got a great save from Rachel (on the penalty kick) and that saved us. If they go up 3-1, we were going to have a hard time coming back. But she came up big for us and that really got us going."

In the boys' game, North's Brian Norton collected a rebound and headed it into the back of the net with 1:31 to go in the first overtime as the Bulldogs pulled out a 3-2 win over Mill Creek in Region 7-AAAAAA action.

Mill Creek (10-4, 3-3) broke on top first when Waldyr Pierre-Louis scored on an assist from Chris Schuetz to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead just 1:42 into the contest.

North (9-4-2, 6-1) came back to tie it at 1-1 when John Ardnt broke free and scored for the Bulldogs.

After North's James Lee scored with 13:57 remaining to put the Bulldogs up 2-1, Mill Creek tied it at 2-2 on a goal from Tyler Moody and an assist from Noah Thomas with just under 3:00 to play to send the game to overtime.

Both teams had their chances as the two teams combined for 17 shots on goal -- nine for North and eight for Mill Creek -- and 26 shots overall.