Chamblee High School won the GHSA 5A Girls’ Soccer State Championship 8-1 over Midtown High School on May 5 at McEachern High School, finishing off the best girls’ soccer season in Chamblee and DeKalb County School District history.
The victory marked the first DeKalb County School District (DCSD) GHSA girls’ state soccer championship in the 41 year history of DeKalb girls’ soccer and Chamblee’s first ever girls’ state title. The Chamblee boys’ team won the 2008 class 3A championship.
The Lady Bulldogs finished the 2022 season with a 22-1-1 record and a total scoring margin of 145-22. Chamblee shutout its opponent in 11 of its 24 games and never surrendered more than four points in a game.
The Lady Bulldogs set a Chamblee and DCSD record for wins in a season at 22-1-1. Chamblee also outscored their five playoff opponents 37-3, including a 3-1 semifinal victory over then No. 1 Blessed Trinity at North DeKalb Stadium last week.
Coming into the game, Chamblee was the second DCSD team to ever compete for a state title in girls’ soccer. Assistant coach Spenser Sumpter—who head coach Chloe Kaspar credited with the day-to-day coaching of the team—said he was worried Chamblee might overlook Midtown after the previous rounds featured some of the best teams in the state.
“We had to go through McIntosh and [Blessed Trinity]. I was a little worried we might overlook this team, but they didn’t. They did everything we asked this year. This is a special group of girls,” said Sumpter.
Chamblee did the opposite of overlooking Midtown, and instead the Lady Bulldogs came out firing on all cylinders. After the first eight minutes and 15 seconds, Chamblee led 4-0 behind goals from the sophomore-trio of forwards Ansley Harrison, Kara Croone, and Solai Washington. Kaspar called the three “The Trinity.”
The fast start was only the beginning of a game that would end with Harrison and Croone both recording hat tricks and Washington scoring two goals.
“Winning this feels amazing. It’s unreal a little bit. Insane. We’ve wanted this the whole season and to finally achieve this goal is incredible,” said Croone. “My teammates set me up perfectly; I couldn’t so it without them. It’s a team game and we pulled through and won.”
Harrison started the scoring for Chamblee when she got a steal and broke away from the defense before beating the kicker and putting the Lady Bulldogs up 1-0 just one minute into the game.
After the four-goal flurry, the teams battled on defense and went scoreless for about 45 minutes. Then Midtown turned up the pressure and got the ball into scoring position. After multiple shots on goal, Midtown knocked in a deflection to score its only goal of the game with 25:27 left to play.
Midtown’s goal only woke Chamblee back up, and the Lady Bulldogs returned the extra pressure with some pressure of their own and another flurry of goals.
“We talked to them all year before games and during practice about staying focused and keeping their intensity high,” said Sumpter. “We ask them what they’re going to do when they face adversity, and all year, every time someone scored on us, we immediately scored one or two goals. I kind of expected it, but it’s a state championship so anything can happen.”
After Midtown’s goal, Chamblee began pushing the ball back down field and taking shots on goal. Midtown keeper Allie Paleon turned away two shots in a span of seconds only to have Harrison put the second deflection into the goal to make it 5-1 and complete a hat trick with 24:48 left to play.
Washington added her second goal of the night one minute later when she blasted a shot that deflected off the keeper’s hands and landed in the back of the net.
Croone scored her second goal just under the 20-minute mark on a breakaway goal to extend Chamblee’s lead to 7-1. She followed it up with her third goal with 12:58 left to play to give Chamblee an 8-1 lead and another hat trick.
Chamblee’s sophomore trio as well as other key players could return for next season, giving the Lady Bulldogs a chance to build on a historic 2022 season. However, Sumpter said the 2022 season was special either way.
“It’s amazing that these girls made history, and I’m proud to be a part of that with them,” added Sumpter.