The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

April 27, 2014

No. 3 Athens going for 8th consecutive state tournament appearance

— At the start of high school soccer season, teams across the state set a goal

to reach the state tournament, held at John Hunt Park in Huntsville each

May. For a majority of those teams, that dream ends either at the end of the

regular season or in the first rounds of the playoffs.

Athens girls continue to be an exception.

For the past seven seasons, Athens has reached its goal of playing in the 5A

semifinals. In 2012, the Golden Eagles made the championship game for the

first time. Last season, they won the school¹s first girls state soccer

championship.

AHS hopes to make it eight in a row when they begin the 5A state playoffs at

home Tuesday. The defending state champions will play Southside-Gadsden for

the second consecutive season in the first-round at 5:30 in Athens Stadium.

Athens are led by pair of senior captains ‹ Miranda Hudleston and Riley

Ridgeway ‹ who have played in more playoff games than anyone in school

history.

Tuesday will mark their 10th playoff game. They have led by example with 22

goals and 23 assists between them this season.

Junior Kate Morgan has also been impressive in front of goal with 12 goals

while goalie Tiffany Dunnaway leads an AHS defense with 10 shutouts.

As impressive as those statistics are, a more impressive number is 22 and 1,

as in 22 goals for and one against in section play this season.

AHS went undefeated in its section once again to earn the right to host a

first-round playoff game. The 6-0 section record isn¹t uncommon for this

Athens team, however.

The AHS girls soccer team hasn¹t lost a section soccer match since 2008, a

remarkable run dating back more than 30 games.

And it¹s not just section play where Athens has dominated 5A competition. In

its seven-year run at the state tournament, the Golden Eagles have a 17-6

playoff record, including 14 consecutive victories in the first two rounds.

In a sport predominately dominated by private schools located in Alabama¹s

four largest cities, Athens has been the exception.

Over the next two weeks, the Golden Eagles will have a chance to extend

their remarkable run with two, three or even four more playoff victories.

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