They lost six of their first eight matches. Now, the Lions have a shot at a state championship.

Westminster Christian girls soccer earned a win in penalty kicks over St. George’s on Tuesday night to clinch a spot in the title match. The Lions will face Trinity Christian on Friday at Mercer University.

It’s safe to say this postseason run was unexpected. The program did not qualify for the postseason last year and was slow to find momentum in the beginning of the season this time around. 

The Lions faced larger schools like Prince Avenue and Madison County, a GHSA Class AAAA school, but also suffered two region losses.

“I wanted our girls to have to build character, understand how to play under pressure, things of that nature,” said head coach Doug Butts.

After getting a handful of wins under their belt, the Lions developed more confidence, and with that confidence came improvements everywhere on the field.

Not only are they stronger in the midfield, but the squad’s forwards have become more fine-tuned, taking advantage of scoring opportunities and capitalizing on them. 

Sophomore goalkeeper Ellie Poe had never played in the box prior to this year. Her abilities have only improved as she’s played, and her best games have happened right when needed the past few weeks.

“The more they started playing our play, our team, the more confidence they had with what was going on,” Butts said. “All the work that they've been putting in is actually coming to fruition. If they'll just keep striving to do what they're doing, success will come.”

Since the tables turned for Westminster, it’s on an eight-match win streak. It defeated Robert Toombs Christian Academy 9-0 in the first round of the state tournament before traveling to Central Fellowship Christian and winning 3-0.

The Lancers weren’t just any opponent. They were the defending GAPPS I-AA champions and seeded No. 1 in the GIAA AA tournament. Westminster upset them as the eighth seed.

Two goals from Faith Lawhead, an eighth grader, and one from sister Charity Lawhead, a freshman, secured the victory. 

Despite being one of the youngest players on the team, Faith Lawhead has been the top scorer for the Lions all season, leading the team with 15 goals. 

“My mentality is that our girls are peaking right now with their play,” Butts said. “I thought that they had a great chance to go in and play with a huge amount of effort and they had a great chance of winning the game.”

Westminster is confident in its ability to continue its unexpected postseason. By continuing to put in the same effort, commitment and approach that they have the past few weeks, the Lions are sure to have a shot at the title, according to Butts.

“It's the girls, it's all the girls,” Butts said. “They are doing such a wonderful job. I'm the idiot just standing on the sideline. They're the ones that are doing, and I'm so proud of what they're doing.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.