The Carrollton High School girls' soccer team went toe-to-toe with the two-time defending state champions and No. 1 team in Class AAAAA on Friday night, but in the end the visitors simply had too much firepower.
The Lady Trojans had their best season since 2012 come to a close in a 3-0 setback to McIntosh in the state quarterfinals at the University of West Georgia, where the host squad held the high-powered Lady Chiefs scoreless for more than 50 minutes of the match.
After Carrollton (10-8-1) battled fellow No. 1 seed McIntosh (18-1-2) to a scoreless first half, the visitors finally found the back of the net with 27:07 remaining in the second half on a Katelyn Galbraigth goal for the 1-0 edge.
With that forcing Lady Trojan head coach Drew Ebensberger to gamble a little more with his offensive attack, the Lady Chiefs were able to find some gaps in the defense and tacked on a goal from Mackensi Rohn with 11:31 to go and Galbraigth's second score of the night just under the five-minute mark put the nail in the coffin.
Even so, Ebensberger was extremely proud of the fight his girls displayed in giving one of the top programs in Georgia — across all classifications — all it could handle.
"McIntosh is a heck of a squad. I mean, very talented, very skilled, very good game knowledge," Ebensberger said. "My girls stepped up to the challenge and we were in there. We kind of made a mistake and left one open and they punished us on it. From there, it's win or go home so you've got to risk it and move them up. If they put in two or three, it doesn't matter if you lose by one or you lose by three. So the girls were trying to get into it. Once that second one was scored, it could have really made us stop, but the girls showed true grit and held on and kept fighting. They fought all the way through until the last bit. It was exciting."
"They've got to keep their head high to get here and playing against McIntosh. The season we had going 8-0 in the region, they have nothing to be disappointed about," Ebensberger said. "They all left it out here on the field (Friday). They did well and they're going to be missed next year. We've got some girls that have some big shoes to fill."