CONYERS - The Lady Seminoles of Salem claimed their fourth consecutive Area 8-AAAA title after beating Heritage 3-1 at Seminole Field on Friday.
The Heritage boys clinched home field advantage as area runner up with their 2-1 overtime win over Salem in the second game.
Salem 3, Heritage 1
Salem started the game with a determination that kept Heritage on its heels for most of the game.
However, the Lady Patriots were unable to withstand the onslaught of pressure and shots on goal.
In the fifth minute of the game, Salem broke through the Heritage defense with a Karlie McCallum goal on an Ashley Miller assist.
Heritage tried valiantly to get back into the game but Salem's quickness and constant pressure pushed them back.
Salem's speed paid off with 32:07 left in the first half when Brittany Whitson stole the ball and fired it in from 20-yards out to make it 2-0.
"We didn't get into a flow of things. They had us on our heels at first," Heritage coach Chad Suddeth said. "We dug ourselves a hole and fought hard to give us a chance."
Heritage was able to get back into the game on a Sydney Smith goal with 12:53 in the half.
Heritage tried as much as it could to tie the game in the second half but Salem's pressure would not allow them to pass the ball let alone set up shots.
"A lot of times, their nervousness translates into them playing harder than they would on a normal basis," Salem coach Heather Cheek said. "They wanted it bad enough to keep them from being in the game."
With 29:25 remaining in the match, Salem put it away when Jordan Young scored as the ball rattled off the upper corner post and crossbar before finding its way into the net.
Despite the loss, Suddeth is proud of how his team performed.
"Last year we were No. 4 in the area and this year we're the region runner-up playing at home on the playoffs," he said.
The win means that the Lady Seminoles' senior class never knew what it meant to not be area champion having won it four consecutive years.
"It feels great. I know the girls love it. They're very excited and knew what this game would mean going into it," Cheek said. "They brought their game out here and showed everybody."
Heritage 2, Salem 1 (OT)
A strange turn of events and a good defensive play by Heritage senior Josh Alexy helped the Patriots beat Salem in overtime.
After Oscar Corona put Heritage in the lead 2-1 with 1:14 left in the second overtime, Salem had a chance to tie the game.
On an indirect kick, Salem's Jordan Reed had a great kick which would've found the upper corner of the frame.
However, Alexy was able to time his jump skidding the ball off his head, sending the ball out of bounds with 20 seconds left to play.
Unfortunately for the Seminoles, they were unable to get a ball in play as they watched the time run out.
"We didn't have a ball boy at the end of the game. That's something you have no control over," said Salem coach Kurt Peters. "But you can't pin it on that."
Salem struck first scoring on a Kenny Wizzard header off a Kwazi Yankee corner kick with 16:56 left in the opening period.
Heritage was able to tie the game less than a minute later on a Tyler Peoples penalty kick.
"The timing of the goal evens out the playing field and puts us right back in the game as opposed to having that long fight back. If we don't come back straight away I think we find ourselves in a little bit of a hole," Patriots coach Brandon Stewart said.