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Heritage girls roll on the pitch

CONYERS -- For the Heritage girls soccer team, it took a little over two minutes to decide Tuesday's game against North Oconee.

During a span of 2:11 in the first half, Arielle Gunderson scored two of her three goals and Courtney Hodges added the first of her two goals, which was all the Patriots needed in a 6-0 victory at Evans Memorial Stadium.

Heritage (8-1-1), ranked No. 7 in Class AAAA, extended its winning streak to three games since suffering its first loss of the season March 6 against Winder-Barrow.

After a scoreless first 32 minutes, the hosts had a barrage of goals late in the opening half. Haley Elliot made a beautiful crossing pass to Hodges, and the Patriots forward snuck a goal in the left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead. Gunderson took over after that. The University of Florida signee ripped a shot from 25 yards out that sailed over Titans keeper Katlyn Bruner to make it 2-0 at the 6:22 mark.

Gunderson struck again just 44 seconds later, sending another long shot that Bruner should've handled, but instead let hit off her hands and land in the net.

Gunderson assisted on Kourtney Kelley's goal less than four minutes into the second half, and Gunderson and Hodges finished the scoring for the Patriots, who have not allowed a goal in starting 4-0 at home.

North Oconee (3-3), which dropped its third consecutive game, had a handful of opportunities in the first 40 minutes. Emily Hirano was high on a pair of shots, and at the 36:50 mark, the forward's shot was just wide. Heritage keeper Mady Carter made three saves in the final 13 minutes of the half, the last of which came with 1:20 to play on a shot by Makenzie Mullins.

The Heritage boys had their four-game winning streak snapped in the nightcap as North Oconee scored the equalizer with three minutes left in a 2-2 draw. Heritage extended its unbeaten streak to five games and moved to 5-3-2.

Mauricio Reyes had given the Patriots a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes to play in the game. In the first half, the Patriots went up 1-0 on a goal by Delvin Bickham, but North Oconee (4-2-1), which also extended its unbeaten string to five games, tied the score early in the second half.

“We played really well (Tuesday), knocking the ball around,” said Heritage coach Brandon Stewart. “While I’m disappointed, we played really really well again, well enough to win.”