WINDER - On a cold and windy night, the Class AAAA No. 8 ranked Heritage Lady Patriots put on a gutsy display to get a 2-0 win over Apalachee on Friday.
With a makeshift lineup, Heritage (6-1-3 overall, 6-0 in Area 8-AAAA) dominated in possession the whole way, but failed to find the back of the net after creating several good opportunities to end the first half scoreless.
Heritage had 12 shots, six on goal, to Apalachee's five of which four were on target.
Lady Patriots keeper Melissa Drish recorded two excellent saves in the opening half to keep the Heritage sheet clean.
"Our finishing continues to struggle a bit, but I'm confident that it will come around. The important thing is we are starting to create some quality scoring opportunities," Heritage coach Chad Suddeth said. "I'm most proud of the girls for handling some adversity. We were without two starters tonight, so we had to move some players around. The girls responded well."
Among the girls that stepped up to fill in where needed were Constance Bates and Shealy Kulp.
By the end of the game, Kulp played five different positions.
The Apalachee defense finally folded under the Lady Patriots' attack when Kulp buried a Michelle Borg throw-in to open the second half.
Then less than three minutes later, Borg scored her goal on a break-away beating the goalkeeper one-on-one.
The Lady Patriots attack continued with eight shots in the second half, six of them on goal.
"Nadia Bryan continues to show tremendous hustle up top. Her work rate is contagious and filters through the rest of the team. These players may not be filling up the stat sheet, but their play is a big reason why we are having success right now," Suddeth said. "It was a very physical match, but Nadia loves that type of game. It brings out her competitive spirit even more."
The Lady Patriots defense took over at that point shutting down the Apalachee comeback effort. They held the Lady Wildcats to two off-goal shots during the 2nd half.
With another area win, Heritage sits on top the Area 8-AAAA standings with a perfect 6-0 record followed by Salem (5-0) and Habersham Central (4-2).
"Overall, it was a gutsy performance from everyone. (I'm) very proud of the defense, recording another shutout, that always helps out the cause," Suddeth said.
"Apalachee came to play but our girls stepped up to answer the call. Right now, we need to get healthy and start polishing our game for some key region matches coming up on our schedule. We've played ourselves into a pretty solid position up to this point but we understand that there is still lots of work to do."