The 2023 Georgia Independent Athletic Association (GIAA) girls’ state championship soccer game was a rematch of two of the season’s best matches.
On March 14, the First Presbyterian Lady Vikings hosted rival Stratford Academy on the pitch, and what ensued was a 2023 classic. The game finished in a 2-2 tie, and after two overtime periods, things were still knotted up.
Stratford won the match when they finished 3-0 on penalty kicks.
The two teams played a regular season rematch on April 24, when the Lady Vikings got the equalizer with a 2-nil win.
The two teams met again on Friday night to decide the state championship at Mercer’s Betts Field.
Eighth grader Bowen Matthews recorded a hat-trick to lead the Lady Vikings. She scored early on a free kick, then in the second half on a penalty kick, and finished with her third goal of the night as time wound down. If the Vikings had stayed in the GHSA, she couldn’t have played due to GHSA rules.
Katelyn Jackson scored the other Lady Vikings goal on an assist from Laura Chan.
The Lady Vikings finished the season 17-1; it was their first state championship since 2018, when they were members of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA). It was their fourth overall state championship.
“I am so proud of the way this team came together,” said long-time FPD soccer coach Josh Trieste. “I’m thankful for a great group of seniors that made our team a family from day one. It was the perfect balance of youth and experience that came through over and over. Together, on and off the field, the team really developed into something special. They were all at their best when it counted most and they’ll always remember this state championship victory.”
The Stratford Lady Eagles finished the season 16-3.