Lady Panthers mercy rule Creekside in first round of state playoffs


Annika Pepper

Senior forward Sara Evans evades Creekside during the Lady Panthers’ game against the Creekside Lady Tigers in the first round of the AAAAA state playoffs. Starr’s Mill struck fast and furiously, ultimately ending in a mercy rule victory 10-0. Evans led the team in goals with four. She will be playing soccer at the University of San Diego next year.

Daniel Stackhouse, Sports Editor

It’s playoff time at Starr’s Mill, and ushering in the postseason were the Lady Panthers on Tuesday. They set the tone for their postseason with a 10-0 mercy rule win over the Creekside Lady Seminoles.

Senior forward Sara Evans led the way with four goals alongside freshman forward Mia Hargove with three goals and two assists. Senior midfielder Darby Olive led the team assists with three, while scoring two goals. Junior Maddi Defler also had a goal and two assists. Juniors Hannah Jacoby and Paige Panos also recorded one assist each. 

Freshman forward Mia Hargrove blazes across the field. Hargrove racked up three goals and two assists throughout the game. (Annika Pepper)

“The mindset heading into state was every game we have to either go hard or go home,” Evans said. “So we knew that if we didn’t come and show up, it could be our last game. For me, it was just that mindset that helped me get into my zone.”

Evans started the game hot, scoring two goals within the first minute of play. Defler, Hargrove, and Evans added three more goals before the four minute mark. Exactly four minutes into the game and the Lady Panthers amassed a 5-0 lead.

Starr’s Mill did not score again until the 13th minute, when Evans racked up a hat trick plus one.  Goals by Olive and Hargrove ended the half at the 20-minute mark. The Lady Panthers held a 9-0 lead heading into the second half.

Unfortunately, the Lady Panthers struggled to finish off the game, despite keeping possession deep into Creekside territory. Olive finally scored the game-ending goal with about a minute to go in the half. With that, Starr’s Mill took the 10-0 win and advanced to the second round.

“We should be able to keep the ball, but we gave up too many easy balls that should have been just easy, clean, just get it under your foot, play a pass,” Olive said. “I want to win. That’s my whole thing. I’ve been playing on this team for four years and all I’ve wanted to do is work hard and win every playoff game. I think that’s what we can do if we keep the same mentality.”

Their second round game will take them all the way down to McDonough for a showdown against the Union Grove Lady Wolverines. The winner will play the winner of Decatur versus Grady. Starr’s Mill and Union Grove will commence at 6 p.m. on April 26.