For the first time since 2011, Southeast Whitfield High School’s boys soccer team had to travel for a state tournament game.
Unlike that game, the Raiders won this time.
Southeast’s 4-1 victory against host Chamblee in the opening round of the Class 4A bracket was seemingly never in doubt. The Raiders will travel to face Carrollton, a 7-0 winner against Stephens County in the first round, on Wednesday in the second round.
Southeast (10-4-1) finished third in Region 7 but had no trouble with Region 6’s runner-up. The Raiders’ Christian Saenz scored early on a Erik Salaises corner kick, and Victor Garcia converted a free kick from around 20 yards away for a 2-0 halftime lead.
“We had turf to deal with and a much bigger field than we’re used to,” Southeast coach Kevin Kettenring said. “It’s nice and wide with lots of space. It’s a very physical team, well coached with lots of discipline. The one thing they don’t have is a goalkeeper. That’s what all the scouting reports said: ‘Put some pressure on him because he is a field player.’”
The Raiders made it 3-0 around the 50th minute when Salaises assisted Jorge Hurtado. Chamblee scored its only goal in the 56th minute, and Southeast’s Alex Rosillo ended the scoring in the 73rd minute with a third assist from Salaises.
“Chamblee is a quality side; I can’t say that enough,” Kettenring said. “They play in a tough region, much like we do where we beat up on each other. I’m kind of glad to get away from playing the same old faces. ... It was a good match.”
The Raiders took 19 shots on goal. Southeast goalkeeper Abel Mendiola made 11 saves.
• Christian Heritage finished among the top 16 teams in the Georgia High School Association’s final power rankings for Class A private schools and will take on First Presbyterian Day School in the opening round of the tournament.
The Lions (12-11) will travel to Macon for the best-of-three series, which starts with a doubleheader at 4 p.m. Friday. If necessary, a third game would be played Saturday at a time to be determined. The Lions are seeded 13th for the tournament, while the Vikings (20-1) — who went 10-0 to win the Region 7-A title — are seeded fourth.
Christian Heritage is in its first season of GHSA competition but regularly made the playoffs in past seasons while competing in the Georgia Independent School Association. The baseball team is the school’s first program to make the state playoffs as a GHSA program.
It’s something to hang your hat on,” Lions coach Noah Stokes said. “Obviously, we want to make it mean something and keep winning, but it is one of those things we’ll look back on and always be proud that we were first.”