Haley Swift dished out eight assists, with seven in the first half, and Leslie Ferguson scored five goals to lead the Lady Longhorns to an 18-12 win over Northview in a Class A-AAAAA quarterfinal at Cobb Energy/Corky Kell Stadium.
Goalkeeper Hannah Rosen led the defensive effort, finishing the game with 18 saves.
Kell (18-1) will either travel to McIntosh or host Blessed Trinity in the semifinals Tuesday. If it’s McIntosh, the Lady Longhorns must find a way to win after falling to the same team in the quarterfinals the previous two seasons.
“This is incredible,” Kell coach Todd Utt said. “The girls have worked so hard, and it’s good to be able to move on. They played really well, and it we can continue playing well, we should have a shot at (the state title).”
Kell squeezed out a 15-11 win over Northview during the regular season, and coming in to their second meeting with the Lady Titans, the Lady Longhorns needed to win more draws and commit less fouls.
Kell succeeded on both counts, and that helped it build an early four-goal lead.
Once Kell took its lead, Northview never got within three goals.
Swift was the architect of most of the Lady Longhorns’ early offense. Her first two assists were to Ferguson as she was on the run toward the crease. Swift also assisted Izzy Palermo’s first goal, putting her on a 1-on-1 matchup with Northview goalkeeper Tori Josselson.
Swift went on to assist Jessica Armstrong and Talen Francis as Kell opened an 8-3 lead, then assisted Hannah Nemeck just before halftime, for a 9-4 Lady Longhorn lead.
“I’m an artist,” Swift said. “I have an open vision on the field and see everything I can. I trust everyone on my team to make a good play.”
Northview threatened late in the first half, scoring back-to-back goals to cut the lead to 9-6, but Palermo converted a much-needed free-position goal with 3 seconds left in the half to take back momentum.
The Lady Longhorns went on to seize control, scoring three straight goals to start the second half. Palermo scored on a breakaway, Swift scored her second goal on a Palermo assist and Francis scored on a feed from Riley Proshek.
Palermo scored four goals for Kell, while Francis added three and Armstrong two. Proshek was key defensively with three takeaways in the first half.
Carly Connors led Northview (14-6) with four goals.