Heritage, Lee County face off in Sweet 16

The Heritage girls soccer team is back in a familiar spot.

With last week's 2-1 win over South Forsyth in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs at Evans Memorial Stadium, the Patriots will play in a Sweet 16 game for the second consecutive season.

To get to Leesburg, and a date with Region 1-AAAA champion Lee County, the Region 8-AAAA runner-up and No. 10-ranked Patriots had to erase a one-goal deficit at home against South Forsyth. After struggling offensively for the first 60 minutes of the game, Heritage got to work.

First, defender Cate Reach blasted a goal from 30 yards to tie the game at 1-1. Then Clayton State signee Courtney Hodges scored the game-winner off a throw-in by Kourtney Kelley, taking them from down a goal and facing the prospect of going home early, to a second-round matchup with a league champion with a berth in the state quarterfinals on the line.

"When you got two good teams it usually only takes one (goal). I'm proud of my girls," Heritage coach Chad Suddeth said after the win.

Suddeth's team, which has won five consecutive games and is 15-3-1, may be in another close contest today. The host Trojans are on a 10-game unbeaten streak (8-0-2) after a win in penalty kicks over Lakeside-Evans in round one, and their defense has allowed just 18 goals in 18 games.

"Down to the final 16, there's no more cupcakes," Suddeth said. "We made the second round last year, we've set ourselves up for a deeper run (this year), but we've got to take care of our business. We can't afford to take anybody for granted."