Patriots knock off No. 10 Panthers

CONYERS -- For 68 minutes in Tuesday's showdown with Class AAAAA No. 10 Parkview, the Heritage girl's soccer team didn't have a single shot on goal. But it was the last four minutes that made the difference. University of Florida signee Arielle Gunderson scored with 4:32 left for the only goal in the Patriots' 1-0 victory at Evans Memorial Stadium.

With 5:38 left in the game, Parkview (1-1-1) had its best chance to end the scoreless drought as Elizabeth Quintanilla made a nice crossing pass to Jamesia Folston, but Folston's shot was saved by Mady Carter. That set up Gunderson, who lofted a beautiful shot from 25 yards out that snuck over Parkview keeper Mariah Garner's hands.

"I kept telling the girls 'keep playing,' sometimes all it takes is one," said Heritage coach Chad Suddeth, whose team stayed unbeaten at 3-0. "I don't think (Gunderson's shot) hit anything but the back of the net. I'm very pleased with the result."

Parkview had plenty of chances in the second half, but Carter, just a sophomore, made seven saves in the final 40 minutes, including Folston's chance. Meanwhile, the Heritage defense-led by Cate Reach, Lena Killingsworth and Gunderson-was strong in leading the Patriots to a third consecutive shut out.

"I can't say enough about them, they're lockdown defenders," Suddeth said. "Lena and Cate are definitely the cogs for us. That was probably the best Cate's ever played (and Carter is) very dependable back there. She's seasoned."

In a scoreless first half, Parkview had a number of chances in the final 30 minutes. Stephanie Gutierrez had a pair of shots, and Quintanilla was wide with a shot at the 20:46 mark. The Panthers had control of the ball deep in Heritage territory for nearly three minutes, getting a wide header by Alex Bowen that Carter knocked away with 13:05 left. Kristina Meyer had two chances with under four minutes left until halftime. The junior midfielder had a shot saved by Carter with 3:33, and two and a half minutes later, Carter punched away a Meyer shot to keep the game scoreless.

Heritage controlled the first eight minutes of the game, getting the initial shot on goal from Kaley Wells 4:30 into the game. A minute later, Courtney Hodges took advantage of a turnover by Parkview defender Alex Truitt and fired a shot that was saved by Panthers keeper Mariah Garner. At the 32:38 mark, Reach had an excellent chance, but her shot was high.

The boy's nightcap ended too late for this edition.