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Anne Photograp News 2024

STATE FINAL: Lady Wolves falls in PKs to West Forsyth v…
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STATE FINAL: Lady Wolves falls in PKs to West Forsyth v…

DULUTH, Ga. – The Buford girls’ quest for a first-ever football title once again fell just short.

West Forsyth outlasted the Lady Wolves 7-6 in an eight-round penalty shootout at the marathon to capture the Class 7A championship game at Duluth High School on Friday.

The Lady Wolves (20-1-1) got a first-half goal from Sabrie Vargas to erase a 1-0 lead over West Forsyth. But despite outscoring the Lady Wolverines 21-6 in the second half and two overtimes, they couldn’t win in regulation.

It was Buford’s first title game since 2017 and only the second ever for the program.

Abby Kilman, Yazzie Vargas, Addison Attaway, Kaitlin White, Ella Attaway, Shea Owings and all scored in the PK phase for Buford. Alina Pope made one save in the PKs for the Lady Wolves, but West Forsyth keeper Adelei Utz made two saves and also converted a PK of his own to help seal the third title in four seasons.

Buford coach Megan Hill said it might as well have been decided by a coin flip.

“It really does look like a coin flip when you get to PKs,” she said. “It sucks to lose like this, but Alina did a great job. It’s just difficult when you get to PK’s.”

After West Forsyth (21-0-2) took a 1-0 lead in the first five minutes, Buford controlled the action for most of the rest of the game. But in the 23rd minute they leveled after a beautiful goal by Sabrie Vargas.

The Lady Wolves continued to attack in the second half. They defeated West Forsyth 13-5 and produced 3-1 corners.

Their best chances came in the 57th minute when White made a nifty tap-in over Utz from five yards out. But the shot just trickled past the right side of the post. A minute later, Utz made a diving save on Evany Torres’ 15-yard blast.

Off a corner kick in the 66th minute, Utz made another diving save and a Kaylen Brown rebound sailed high. In the 75th minute, Torres failed to get in front of goal with a one-timer from five meters after a beautiful cross from Sophia Martelli.

In the first overtime, Brown, Torres and Kilman were all shot by Utz.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, Hill said this was the kind of season they will all remember. They only allowed four goals in 22 games all season and were ranked No. 1 for almost the entire time.

But she said ultimately it’s about being able to score. After West Forsyth’s goal, they defeated the Lady Wolverines 31-10.

“These girls have come a long way from the beginning of the season to now,” she said. “They won as a team and we lost as a team. I thought we controlled the action, especially in the second half and in overtime. We told them it would come down to whether they could finish it.

“We were close, but we just weren’t there (in the right positions) when we needed to be there.”