The St. Pius X Catholic High School girls soccer team won the AAAA state championship game 6-0 over Flowery Branch on Friday at Mercer University. After defeating Blessed Trinity 3-2 in overtime of the semifinal game on Tuesday, the Golden Lions advanced to the championship game against a Flowery Branch team that had a 16-game unbeaten streak heading into the match.
The Golden Lions struck first after Helen Cherry volleyed a free kick from Loren House over the head of the Flowery Branch goalkeeper. Renee Lyles had another standout performance with a hat trick, scoring a total of five combined goals in the semifinal and championship games. Clare Gornowicz and Helen Kolker also scored for St. Pius. Goalkeeper Eve Beyer and the Golden Lions earned their 14th shutout in their 22nd game of the year.
“I felt like we had a great game, really stuck to our game plan, and executed well,” coach Sara Schmitt said. “I liked that we never let Flowery Branch dictate the match but stuck to our style of play. It was a complete team win.”
Forward Renee Lyles scored a school record 36 goals in her sophomore season. Coach Schmitt said, “Renee’s vision on the field makes her so special. She sees space and takes it. She also directs where other players need to be by playing a ball into that space.”
The St. Pius team finishes the 2019 season with a stellar goal differential of +85, only allowing 11 goals. The team outscored playoff opponents 33-2 in route to Schmitt’s ninth state title in the past 11 years. The team finished ranked #2 in Georgia, and #4 in the nation by the MaxPreps poll.