Thursday night marked a historic accolade in the history of Gordon Central girls soccer. In a shortened first-round playoff game, the Gordon Central Lady Warriors shut out Therrell 7-0 on Thursday. The victory is the first Lady Warriors playoff win in the program’s history.
“Before the playoffs started, we were 6-1 at home, so for some reason we’ve played really well at home,” Lady Warriors head coach Steve Plemons said. “Anytime you can get home field advantage, especially with a record like that, it just kind of plays in our favor so I’m just happy we could play here and happy we could come out with a win.”
It has been 17 years since Gordon Central girls soccer made the state playoffs. However, the 2002 Lady Warriors made an early first-round exit.
In Thursday’s contest, the Lady Warriors quickly found the scoreboard as Emily Salazar scored the opening goal, putting a header into the net off a corner kick. Moments later, Cora Stepp would strike with a shot down the middle from just outside the attacking box for a 2-0 lead.
From there, Gordon Central rolled. Stepp and Salazar would trade goals and it was 4-0 Lady Warriors about halfway through the first 40 minutes.
“The past two practices were probably the best practices we’ve had all year,” Plemons said. “There were some specific things I wanted to work on, they bought into that and the results show.”
Salazar recorded a hat trick in the 27th minute, while Stepp notched her third with 3:42 remaining in the first half. Jackie Alvarez also found the back of the cage for the Lady Warriors’ fifth goal.
“They’re hungry,” Plemons said. “All they’ve talked about is getting as far as we can get.”
Per GHSA soccer rules, if a team is behind by seven or more goals at halftime, the second half is shortened to 20 minutes, or half the amount of time of what would normally be played. Gordon Central did not tally in the 20-minute second half and the game ended 7-0.
The home playoff victory is also the first for Coach Plemons, who is in the midst of his first year as the Lady Warriors’ head coach.
“A lot of excitement (and) a lot of nervousness,” Plemons said on his emotions afterward. “I love it for the girls, I’m excited for the girls. This is a team effort. First year, I’m just excited for the girls to be in this situation.”
The Lady Warriors are on to the next round and will battle at Region 8 No. 1 seed Union County in the second round of the GHSA girls soccer Class AA state playoffs. Kickoff from Blairsville is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday.
“It’s one game at a time,” Plemons said. “We cannot get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ve got to play within ourselves, play hungry and just keep working and keep fighting.”