CONYERS - For Salem girls soccer coach Heather Richardson, the key to success in today's Class AAAA second round playoff game against Chapel Hill is pretty simple.
"We are prepared as far as knowing our strengths, tactics and what makes us successful," Richardson said. "The key for us will be making sure we come out putting a lot of pressure on them, being first to the ball, winning 50-50 ball and do (all) this consistently. We will have to play with intensity and not ever let up."
The Lady Seminoles (14-2-1) will host the Lady Panthers (11-5-1) at 6 p.m. today at Reid Memorial Stadium.
Salem enters the game ranked No. 5 in Class AAAA and on a roll. The Lady Seminoles have won seven straight games, starting with a 2-0 win over county rival Heritage on March 28 and have outscored their opponents 40-1 during that stretch.
Junior Jordan Young scored two goals to lead the Area 8-AAAA champions to a 3-0 victory over North Springs in the opening round of the playoffs.
Chapel Hill, on the other hand, is looking for its second straight road victory in the postseason after prevailing 2-0 at Rome in the first round. The Lady Panthers were the No. 3 seed out of Area 5-AAAA.
The two squads have not played a common opponent.
Chapel Hill's four losses were to Carrollton (3-2), Northgate (2-0), Starr's Mill (4-0) and Sequoyah (2-1). The Lady Panthers also tied Cartersville (1-1).
"I expect this to be a very intense game," Richardson said. "I think they are a very talented team and we will need to make sure we are playing well. Once you get in the playoffs, everyone is fighting to win because you know the consequences if you lose."
The Lady Seminoles are looking to end a two-year drought in the second round. Last year, Salem lost in penalty kicks to St. Pius 4-3. Two years ago, the Lady Seminoles dropped a 4-2 decision to Forsyth Central.
The last time Salem advanced to the quarterfinals was in 2005.
Jeff Gillespie can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: If you go
· What: Second round of the Class AAAA girls state soccer tournament
· Who: Salem Lady Seminoles vs. Chapel Hill Lady Panthers
· When: Today 6 p.m.
· Where: Reid Memorial Stadium