Baylor seniors Ramsey Seagle and Will Hitchcock will sign letters of intent to continue their soccer careers at Transylvania University, an NCAA Division III school in Lexington, Ky.
The two have been stabilizing forces that helped the Red Raiders to the Division II-AA state championship last season and a 9-1-2 record this year that has them ranked No. 1 in the classification.
Seagle, a Best of Preps selection last season, has 11 goals and five assists, while Hitchcock has a goal and three assists.
"They have put the time into working to get themselves better," Baylor coach Curtis Blair said. "They've spent a lot of time off the field and have helped propel the program. When your two best players are your two hardest workers, it sets the standard for the program."
The big boot
Blair had never seen what happened last Tuesday against Battle Ground Academy -- his goalkeeper, Colin Brewer, scoring a goal.
From his regular position.
The score came off a punt that the BGA keeper misjudged, the ball bouncing over his head for the final score in a 2-0 victory.
"I've never watched a goalkeeper score from 120 yards out," Blair said. "It was sort of unreal. The guys all kind of looked around in disbelief; then everybody went crazy.
"At that time, it was a very important goal."
North Murray still up
North Murray soccer coach Matt Chambers has developed a strong boys' program -- no matter where the team plays. A year after winning the Region 7-AA regular-season title, the Mountaineers moved up in classification and have clinched at least a share of the 5-AAA title.
"What I've learned as a coach is that with so many different attitudes and personalities on a team, if you can manage that, things will work well most of the time," Chambers said. "We have a community that backs us, and we've been able to build a strong program."
They are one of six area boys' teams ranked in the latest Atlanta-Journal Constitution soccer poll, slotted at sixth in Class AAA. Dalton is first in AAAA, with Northwest Whitfield seventh and Southeast Whitfield eighth, and Calhoun is third and Murray County is 10th in AA.
Heritage's girls are second in Class AAAA, Calhoun is third in AA and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe is ninth in AAA.
Baylor's boys remained first in the Eurosportscoreboard.com Tennessee Division II-AA poll, while McCallie is fifth. Chattanooga Christian (third), Notre Dame (seventh) and East Hamilton (ninth) received top-10 rankings in Class A/AA.
Chattanooga Christian went 2-0-1 in the tournament it hosted this past weekend. The tourney also included Cleveland in a round-robin format, with the two area teams facing fourth-ranked White House and Randolph, which is ranked fourth in Class 4A in Alabama.
CCS (8-1-1) defeated Cleveland 1-0 and Randolph 3-0 before tying White House 1-1. In the process, though, the Chargers lost Tim Love to a torn MCL. Porter Black also missed the White House game with an injury, but coach Shawn Brower hopes he can return later in the year.
"I thought we performed better than I anticipated," Brower said. "I'm real proud our guys were able to exceed expectations. We've allowed three goals in 10 games, so we're defending well and I can't say enough about our back line.
"We keep rising to the challenge."
Cleveland fell 4-3 to White House and 1-0 to Randolph.
Sonarville teams win
Sonoraville had two of the five area Region 5-AAA teams that earned spots in the Georgia tennis playoffs, with victories in the state quarterfinals that started Monday at Dellinger Park in Cartersville. The Phoenix boys defeated Adairsville 4-1, while the girls beat North Murray 3-2 in a match that was settled by a default in the No. 3 singles match.
"I'm really proud of both teams," Sonoraville coach Billie Abney said. "Those were a couple of big wins for us."
Both Coahulla Creek teams advanced to today's semifinals as well, with 3-1 wins over the Ringgold boys and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe girls. North Murray's boys beat LFO 3-0.
The Gordon Central teams both lost 5-0, the girls to Adairsville and the boys to Cartersville. Ringgold's girls lost 5-0 to Cartersville.
LaFayette returned five players from a 2012 state-playoff girls' tennis team, led by senior Madeline Ensley. She is 12-0 going into the Region 7-AAAA tournament Wednesday at Lakeshore Park in Dalton, and coach Clint Harrison said she is 43-8 in her four-year career at No. 1 singles for the Lady Ramblers.
"She's been vital to our program," Harrison said. "She leads, and it's very nice to be able to send someone out there that you can say as a coach, 'I've got that one.'"
Dalton is the top seed from the North in both boys and girls, with LaFayette's girls and Heritage's boys No. 2.
In the past few years, area teams had to get through Cartersville or Allatoona to have a shot to host a state playoff match. Now Cartersville is in AAA and Allatoona made the leap to AAAAA.
The Heritage boys broke the trend last season when they defeated Cartersville 4-1.
"I feel really good about our chances to get to the championship," Harrison said. "We would get past our first-round match and have to face one of those teams in the semifinals. Now things have opened up some."
The 7-AA tournament also begins Wednesday at Calhoun Recreation Center. Calhoun's boys are the top seed.
Big Bang beginning
The third Big Bang tennis tournament starts Thursday with the Power (A) division at Warner Park and the Club (B) group at Middle Valley. There are 13 teams, down from 23 a year ago.
Both St. Andrew's-Sewanee teams and the CCS boys are newcomers to the event, which has scheduled Saturday as a makeup day in the event of rain.
"We feel good about the field this year," said Soddy-Daisy coach Junior Johnson, one of the tournament directors. "We lost a few of the teams from last year, but for a public-school tournament, there's some good competition."
Soddy-Daisy's girls and the Arts & Sciences boys won the Power division titles last season.