With temperatures reaching near 90 degrees Tuesday, Heritage girls' soccer coach Chad Suddeth tried to keep his girls fresh in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs Tuesday.
As the Lady Patriots (15-3-1) scored two goals in the final 20 minutes to pull off the 2-1 victory, his strategy did that and more.
Suddeth moved players around the pitch such as Lena Killingsworth, Luara Zawadki and Arielle Gunderson trying both to keep everyone fresh and to work through the minor injuries of the game.
In the second half Gunderson, who signed with the University of Florida, started out at forward before moving to right defender, into the midfield, back up to forward and ended the game again on defense.
"A lot of it wasn't tactic stuff," Suddeth said. "A lot of it was the heat was up on the girls and I needed to get them a break. A couple of girls got dinged up and I had to pull them and move some girls around."
Shortly after she was moved from defender to midfielder Gunderson dribbled the ball over the midfield line and into South Forsyth (11-5-2) territory. Getting within 25 yards of the War Eagles' net Gunderson was fouled setting up a free kick.
Senior Cate Reach stepped up to take the kick and, with 19:28 to play, she put a ball just over the outstretched fingers of South Forsyth keeper Hannah Goudy to tie it at 1-1.
Heritage continued to make moves around the pitch and continued to wear down the War Eagles, who substituted less and seemed more fatigued than the Lady Patriots.
The Patriots again had the ball in War Eagles' territory as the match wound down as South Forsyth knocked the ball out of bounds.
Suddeth saw an opportunity and called Killingsworth up from the back as Kourtney Kelley went to the sideline for the throw-in.
Hodges received the ball off Kelley's throw and turned toward the net from about 15 yards out. The Clayton State signee then blasted one past Goudy to put Heritage up 2-1 with 6:54 remaining.
"I knew Kourtney Kelley could throw it a country mile and I figured we were going o get a flip ball into the mouth of the goal and I pulled up Lena a to get some height up there. When (South Forsyth) saw her coming in, Hodges mark jumped Lena and left Hodges there."
The Lady Patriots and goalkeeper Mady Carter held on the rest of the way to reach the second round for the second straight year.
South Forsyth went up 1-0 in the first half on Rachel Shah's goal.
"We just stayed patient and didn't push the panic button," Suddeth said." We were outplayed in the first half but not on the scoreboard."
Heritage will play Wednesday at Lee County after having an even longer layoff leading up to Tuesday's match. The Lady Patriots had a layoff of 15 days with their previous match being at Eagles Landing on April 17.
"On the one we were just a hair of a second slow in reacting to balls and that anticipation that we normally have wasn't there," Suddeth said. "We're a high-pressure team and we were just a step slow in getting to the ball to allow us to maintain possession on us it took us longer then I thought to knock the rust off."
With Tuesday's win over South Forsyth Heritage has now won five straight and six of its last seven.