Photo: Craig Cappy Parkview's Elizabeth Quintanilla (9) heads the ball toward the goal early in the first half beating Tift County's Taylor Nimmo (12) on Friday night.
LILBURN -- The final score of Parkview's Class AAAAAA state girls soccer quarterfinal match with Tift County belied just how versatile and resilient the Panthers had to be.
But they built a working lead early in the game, and made the necessary adjustments to hold off a feisty counter by the Blue Devils before pulling away for a 4-0 win Friday night at the Big Orange Jungle.
Elizabeth Quintanilla had a goal and an assist, while Kristin Telford tallied two second-half goals as Parkview (18-3) advanced to the state semifinals, where they will play host to either South Forsyth or Hillgrove on Tuesday.
"I think (in) the first half, we weren't the sharpest," Panthers coach Judson Hamby said. "And I felt like (Tift) did a good job of kind of sitting in (defensively) and countering on us.
"But overall, we'll take it. A win is a win when you get to this stage (of the postseason)."
Parkview struck very quickly, needing just over five minutes to take the lead for good.
Quintanilla ran down a long pass from Katie Hickman in the right corner before beating her defender into the penalty area and slipping a shot underneath the crossbar, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead just 5:02 after the opening kickoff.
Parkview's intensity only grew when Tift (17-3) goalkeeper Emily Coleman was shaken up less than a minute later, and the Panthers tried to test replacement Blakeley Bergeron early and often.
But Bergeron was up to the task in stopping a blast from Madison Ober and Quintanilla's shot inside the penalty area before Coleman was able to return about six minutes later.
However, there was nothing either keeper could've done when after the Blue Devils were called for a handball in the penalty area in the 16th minute.
Sophomore Morgan Fleming buried the ensuing penalty kick to extend the Panthers' lead to 2-0 with 24:49 left in the first half.
Still, Tift was able to dodge more bullets throughout the remainder of the half, and slowly began to generate a little offense, mostly from Carlie Couch.
Couch used her speed to create several scoring opportunities off counterattacks, with the best chance coming in the 26th minute, when she sliced her way through the Parkview defense for a chance inside the penalty area.
Parkview keeper Mariah Garner smothered the loose ball before Couch could get to it, but was issued a yellow card for contact after the save, which not only forced her off the field in favor of Megan Wiley, but gave the Blue Devils a penalty kick with 14:37 left in the half.
However, Couch's PK went wide to the near-post side to keep Parkview with a comfortable two-goal lead heading into intermission.
"I can tell you right now, we've played a lot of quality teams," Hamby said. "And (Couch) is the best kid I've seen this year in the state. There's a reason why she's going Division I. She gave us fits. We talked the last two days about her. We knew about her. The first half, she shredded us twice.
"Luckily, (Tift) didn't score, and I think at halftime, we made some adjustments on her and supressed (the Tift counterattack). We just did a better job in the midfield and up front and preventing the giveaways."
Indeed, Parkview stifled the chances Tift had from the midpoint of the first half by not only adjusting defensively in the second half, but simply doing a better job of maintaining possession and creating offensive chances of its own.
Telford converted two of those chances within a 2:13 span midway through the final frame.
First, the sophomore booted home a rebound of Coleman's save off a Quintanilla shot from the right wing with 24:44 to play to push the Parkview lead 3-0.
Then, she took Ober's long lead pass and followed her own shot after being stopped by Coleman to put the Panthers up 4-0 with 22:31 to play.
"At halftime, Coach Hamby challenged us and he told us we needed to pick it up and just be mentally tougher as a team," said Telford, who scored her eighth and ninth goals of the season. "We came out (in the second half), and that's what we did. We picked it up as a whole from defensive to midfield to offense."