Chamblee makes history while reaching state title game

The Chamblee Lady Bulldogs became the second DeKalb County School District girls’ soccer team to ever reach the state championship of the GHSA playoffs when the Lady Bulldogs beat No. 1 Blessed Trinity 3-1 at North DeKalb Stadium on April 28.

Lakeside played in the 1997 title game against Marist and fell 1-0, and Chamblee now has the chance to become the first DCSD girls’ program to win a state title.

Chamblee will travel to McEachern High School to face Midtown High School on May 5 at 5 p.m.

Blessed Trinity (19-2-1) looked like the defending champions early on and kept the ball mostly on Chamblee’s end of the field. Chamblee stayed on defense until the Lady Bulldogs slowly began to turn the momentum by pushing the ball back into the Lady Titans half of the field. 

With 16:15 left in the first half, Chamblee’s Ansley Harrison drew the goalie out and passed to a streaking Kara Croone who blasted a shot into the net behind the Blessed Trinity keeper for a 1-0 lead. The Lady Bulldogs never trailed after that.

Chamblee kept up the pressure to open the second half scoring two goals in the first four minutes.

Chamblee beat Blessed Trinity to reach the state title game in girls’ soccer. Photos provided by Mark Brock

Croone was again the villain to Blessed Trinity’s defense. On the first goal, she took a pass from Cassidy Kuehne down the middle of the field, outraced the defense, and nailed a shot into the net past a diving Ava Bilderback to make it 2-0 less than three minutes into the second half. 

Croone was at it again less than a minute later, dribbling through the middle of the Titan’s defense and again beating Bilderback to make it 3-0 with 36:23 left on the game clock. 

Despite getting several shot opportunities, Blessed Trinity could not solve the Chamblee defense and keeper Alexis Harris–who had eight saves–until a handball call in the box gave the Titan’s a penalty kick. 

Blessed Trinity’s Grace Eatz managed to get the ball past a diving Harris to trim the lead to 3-1 with 20:51 remaining in the match. 

Chamblee continued to play solid defense and pushed the ball up the field to take time off the clock.

The Lady Bulldogs lost a disappointing 8-2 match to Blessed Trinity in last year’s second round of the state playoffs.

The student body and Chamblee players stormed the field at the end of the game to celebrate the state championship berth.

Chamblee was also just the third DCSD team to ever reach the semifinals, joining Lakeside (three times) and Stone Mountain (1994). The 21-1-1 record is a school and DeKalb County best, surpassing Lakeside’s 18-1-1 record in 2013. Chamblee’s previous school best came under current head coach Mattie Caspar in 2018 at 14-4-2. 

Chamblee’s opponent, Midtown High School, set up a rematch from Chamblee’s 6-3 regular season victory from March 29. Midtown knocked off Chamblee’s Region 5-5A foes St. Pius by a score of 2-1 and Decatur 2-0 in back-to-back games to reach the championship match. 

Chamblee is the only DCSD competing for a state title in soccer, but St. Pius X Catholic (boys), Marist School (girls), and Drew Academy (boys) are also sending high school soccer teams to the state championship.

Drew Academy will play Dalton Academy on May 3 at 5 p.m. at Mercer University. St. Pius will play Johnson-Gainesville on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. at McEachern High School and Marist will play Jefferson on May 5 at 5 p.m. at Mercer University in Macon.

 

The Champion Editor Jay Phillips contributed to this article

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