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Salem girls cruise in state playoff opener
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In Latin American countries and across the globe, soccer is referred to as fútbol. However, in their 2009 playoff debut, the No. 1 seeded Salem Lady Seminoles posted an American football score following a 7-0 rout over No. 4 seed Woodland-Bartow Tuesday in first-round action of the Class AAAA Georgia High School Association Girls Soccer State Tournament.

With the win, Salem advances to the second round of the playoffs and will host No. 3 seed Northgate from Region 5-AAAA. This game is slated for Tuesday, April 28, at 6 p.m.
The four-time defending Region 8-AAAA champions and third-ranked (Class AAAA) Lady Seminoles improved their record to 16-3 behind another dominating performance in front of the hometown crowd at Seminole Stadium.

Junior Taylor Gates was unstoppable with the ball as she paced Salem with three goals in her team's lopsided victory.

"We didn't know anything about this team (Woodland-Bartow). We played them like they were Marist or McIntosh," said Gates. "We came out with a lot of heart and intensity. We want to win the state championship this year."

Salem's scoring jamboree began early and continued throughout the night. Ashley Miller kicked off the party after drilling home an unassisted goal at the eight-minute mark to give the Lady Seminoles a 1-0 lead.

Later, Gates found the back of the net twice midway through the first half and then again just before intermission to put Salem up 3-0 at the break.

In the second half, the team's balance proved to be too much for the visiting Lady Wildcats as the floodgates opened for Woodland-Bartow. Three other Lady Seminoles added their names to the score sheet with Gates behind goals from Jordan Young, Courtney Hodges and Shelby Boggus. Of Salem's seven goals, four were assisted led by Young, Boggus, Brittany Beaumont and Alayna Smith.

"They do a great job of supporting each other and putting themselves in the position to score," said Salem girls' head coach Heather Cheek. "Instead of being selfish, they'll give the ball to the player who has the better opportunity. They know where people are in the field and they use that to their advantage."

Notes: Salem senior goalkeeper Shallon Hobbs notched her 11th shutout of the season after blanking Woodland-Bartow, 7-0. Her defense has been as tough as steel with a goals against average
of 1.11.