Thomasville’s soccer team sustained a season-ending, 3-1 defeat in the AA state semifinals on Tuesday after a resilient comeback by Greater Atlanta Christian in the second half.
The Spartans mounted all three goals in the final 31 minutes – two within the keeper’s box and another on a penalty kick in lieu of an offsides call.
Greater Atlanta Christian thrived with a polished offensive attack, and played like the team Thomasville embodied through the first three rounds of the playoffs.
The Spartans dominated possession for the entire 80 minutes, but couldn’t find the net until their 20th shot attempt well into the final period.
Thomasville goalie Josh Giddens, who played as stringent from within the box as he had all season, endured 29 shot attempts – many of which he herded off with assistance from the THS defense.
“All the scouting reports we got on GAC said that they played extremely fast, and were very skilled on their touch,” Bulldogs coach Keith Gwaltney said. “They were able to continue to get more and more touches inside the box, and I think fatigue kind of took over.”
Play was as chippy as it had been all season.
Both teams were called for two yellow cards apiece, including one that positioned GAC to take the lead on a penalty kick in the 60th minute.
“They don’t like to be touched,” Gwaltney said of GAC. “They’re more of a finesse team than a physical team. Part of our gameplan was to go out there and knock them around a little bit to see if we could get in their heads.”
Thomasville took its first and only lead in the 14th minute when Tommy Hill scored on a breakaway.
Thomasville then mounted a series of saves, goal stops by defenders within the keeper’s box, before the half.