Leah Gearing scored four goals over three games to lead the Madison County Middle School girls soccer team to a perfect 3-0 record and the championship of the first Madison County Mustang Kickoff Classic soccer tournament Feb. 11 at the Madison County Sports Complex and Raider Field.
Meanwhile, the Mustang boys got goals from five different players en route to a 2-1 finish in the tournament and a second-place finish.
The MCMS girls opened the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Elbert County, and then stopped Hart County 4-0 to set up a championship showdown with Oglethorpe County, which the host Mustangs won 2-1. Elbert, which defeated Hart County 2-1 in overtime, finished third in the girls bracket, while Hart County failed to win and finished fourth.
Kaitlyn Padgitt had a pair of goals for Madison County, while Kasi Pressley added a score to account for the Madison County girls’ scoring.
Marco Solis’s scoring header off a crossing pass from Levi Larkins was not enough to prevent the MCMS boys from dropping a 2-1 result to eventual tournament champion Oglethorpe County in the opening boys match, but the Mustangs came back on goals by Bryan Antonio and Ulysses Abundez to stop Elbert County 2-1. The Mustangs wrapped up tournament play by dominating Hart County 3-0 on goals by Antonio, Tim Tucker and Reese Berrang.
Oglethorpe won the tournament by adding victories over Hart County 3-1 and Elbert County 2-0, while Elbert defeated Hart 3-1 to salvage a third-place finish in the boys bracket.
The Madison County teams jumped into Northeast Georgia Interscholastic Athletic Association play with home matches on Tuesday against Franklin County, then travel to Hart County Friday for more region action.
FEB. 14 ACTION
Timely scoring and red-hot goalkeeping helped the Madison County Middle School soccer teams to a pair of 1-0 victories over Franklin County in the teams’ regular season openers Feb. 14 at the Sports Complex.
Leah Gearing knocked in a rebound off the Franklin keeper with less than three minutes remaining to account for MCMS’s score in the girls’ game. That was all the margin Madison County goalkeeper Lexi Davis needed as she turned away 26 Franklin shots to preserve the win.
In the following boys’ contest, Tim Tucker’s drive from 25 yards out found the upper right corner early in the second half to provide the Madison County score. Mustangs’ keeper Mason Mallard, who stopped four point-blank Franklin shots, and a stonewall defense led by center fullback Jordan Wiley made the score stand up.
The victory by the Mustang girls avenged a pair of losses last year to eventual Northeast Georgia Interscholastic Athletic Association champion Franklin County.
“It felt really good to get this win,” said MCMS girls coach Kristen Delay. “We were short-handed due to injuries, but our girls really stepped up against another good Franklin team.”
It was the fourth-straight win to start the season for the MCMS girls, who went 3-0 in the Mustang Kickoff Classic last weekend.
Although Franklin County’s boys have had little success against Madison County over the past four years, the Cubs have played the Mustangs close in each contest played at Madison County.
“Clearly, this is one of Franklin’s best teams,” said MCMS boys coach David Yeary. “They made it very difficult to establish any kind of consistent offense in the midfield.”
Madison County is scheduled for the second match of a three-game homestand to open the season on Friday against Hart County at the Sports Complex. The girls’ match begins at 4:30, followed by the boys at 5:30.