Freshmen lead Lady Panthers to Elite Eight


Lilly Carter

The Lady Panthers defeated the Warhawks 2-1 in the Sweet Sixteen of the AAAAA GHSA state playoffs. The Warhawks scored the first goal of the game, which left the Lady Panthers in a defensive rut. “We let them get a goal really fast,” senior Makira Walton said. “I say ‘let’ because we had the ability to dominate that game and we didn’t for the first half.”

Jenna Sanders, Sports co-Editor

The Lady Panthers faced the Warhawks from Veterans High School in the Sweet Sixteen of the GHSA State Playoffs in an aggressive game. The Mill came out victorious 2-1 after a hard-fought game with the two goals coming from two freshmen.

…[W]e need to play faster, harder, stronger…”

— senior Makira Walton

Freshmen Sara Evans and Sophia Varmeziar scored the two goals of the night for the Lady Panthers. Senior Sage Sammeli scored the lone goal for the Warhawks.

“For the most part, we limited their opportunities and made them work for it,” head coach John Bowen said. “Whenever you do that, you’ve got a chance.”

The first half started off with Veterans making offensive runs, and freshman keeper Zoey Stellman stopping a penalty kick in the third minute. The Mill then turned around and had their first offensive run in the fourth minute that resulted in an attempt at goal from Evans.

The Warhawks kicked the ball down the field just seconds after the Mill’s attempt at goal. This resulted in a corner kick that Sammeli sent past the keeper, giving Veterans the early 1-0 lead.

Starr’s Mill attempted to turn the game around and got more aggressive. Evans scored her goal of the night in the 36th minute. She dribbled the ball into the box to pull out the keeper and hit the right corner of the net.

We were communicating with each other, we were all holding ourselves accountable, and it all just got put together.”

— freshman Sophia Varmeziar

“[During halftime], I basically said that we have been saying that we need to play faster, harder, stronger,” senior Makira Walton said. “And if you don’t think that speech applies to you, you’re dead wrong. Everybody should hear that speech and look within themselves and think ‘I am the person who needs to go faster’.”

The second half of the game started with more Panther offense. Varmeziar broke the 1-1 tie in the third minute. She was passed the ball inside of the box while wide open, and she hit the goal sending it past the keeper.

“We just came and we realized we were not coming out of here without a [win] and we were really on top of it,” Varmeziar said. “We were communicating with each other, we were all holding ourselves accountable, and it all just got put together.”

The Mill plays next in the Elite Eight away against Chamblee, the No. 1 seed out of Region 5-AAAAA. The match begins at 6 p.m. on May 4.