Lanier girls dominate Carver in first-round playoff win

SUGAR HILL — In a matter of minutes, this one was over.

Lanier’s No. 9-ranked girls soccer team scored six goals in the first 13:29 of its Class AAAA first-round matchup with Carver-Atlanta and rolled to a 10-0 shutout victory over the Panthers.

Five different players scored for Lanier in the first half, including Tori Wyant’s three goals and two goals each from Amy Groth and Samantha Helmink, as the Longhorns built an insurmountable 9-0 lead.

Lanier (14-3-1), the No. 1 seed from Region 8-AAAA and currently on a 10-game win streak, moves into the second round and will host either No. 8 Alexander or Cass next Wednesday.

“We’ve got a lot of great players out there and they went out there quickly and poured it on,” Lanier head coach Jack Hughes said. “We didn’t know a lot about (Carver), except for their scores. It’s been a good year for our girls, so we just had to come out and do what we do best.”

Wyant’s first goal with an assist from Maddie Corley gave Lanier a 1-0 lead with just 2:40 gone in the contest.

That simply opened the floodgate for Lanier as the Longhorns scored five more goals in the next 10:49 for a 6-0 advantage.

Ashley Burton made it 2-0 with 36:23 remaining and that was followed by Corley’s goal to make it 3-0 with 33:23 to go in the opening half.

Groth added a goal at 31:15 to increase the lead to 4-0 and then it was Wyant and Groth with their second goals of the half, respectively, to push the margin out to 6-0.

Helmink then got her two goals to go along with Wyant’s third goal in the remaining 12:14 of the half to send Lanier to the locker rooms with the nine-goal cushion.

Starting the abbreviated second half at the 20:00 mark, Wyant scored her fourth and final goal of the game at the 18:08 mark after a corner kick by Corley to up the lead to 10-0 and trigger the mercy rule to conclude the game.

The 10 goals marked a season high for Lanier, which has scored five or more goals in nine of its 14 wins this season.

For Wyant, it was another scoring blitz as the senior also scored a season-high five goals last week in Lanier’s 8-0 win over Stephens County in the regular-season finale.

“We really wanted to win today,” said Wyant. “We obviously want to do better than we did last year when we only made it to the second round. (Maddie) and I worked well up top today and have a good chemistry together. We also know it will get tougher next week, so we’ll have to practice well and be ready.”

Wyant and Corley each had two assists while Groth had one to fuel the Lanier offensive attack.

“Tori and Maddie (Corley) just played great with each other up top,” said Hughes. “They have such chemistry up there and it’s just bang-bang when they connect.”

Lanier saw just one shot on goal from Carver, which came at 24:40 to go in the opening half.

That shot resulted in a save by freshman goal keeper Evelyn Schiefelbein, who had come in for regular goal keeper Emily Polanco early in the first half with the Longhorns up 5-0.

Lanier recorded its sixth shutout of the season, including the Longhorns’ fifth in their last eight contests.

“We had to go pedal to the metal and show everyone who Lanier is,” said Hughes. “We know it won’t get any easier. We’ll enjoy it now, but we’ll come back ready to practice tomorrow and get ready for a tough opponent in the next round.”

Carver, the No. 4 seed from Region 6-AAAA, finishes its season at 8-7-0.