LOGANVILLE — Archer captured a historic sweep of its boys and girls soccer matches at Grayson High School on Friday night.
Archer’s girls team beat Grayson for the first time in the varsity program’s history, winning 1-0 on a first-half goal for junior Jordan Hall. The Archer boys beat Grayson 3-0, the first time the Tigers topped the Rams in regulation, and won back-to-back region games.
The Archer (7-2, 3-1) and Grayson (1-3-1, 1-2) girls teams started the doubleheader. Both squads had ample chances in the first half, but came up scoreless until there were roughly 12 minutes left in the half. Grayson goalkeeper Ajla Cufurovic had five first-half saves and MaCayla Coulter had three in the first half.
Hall scored on an attack that started with a goal kick. Archer had turned the ball over the Grayson, but Ines Obradovac intercepted an attempted clearance and found Hall streaking to her right. Hall’s speed out-matched Graysons back line as she slotted the ball in with 12:19 left in the first half.
Hall is a former first-team all-region player as a freshman but didn’t play for the Tigers last year to play for a developmental academy. She had to leave the game at halftime to catch a flight to California for a collegiate camp.
She’d already made her mark in the game, however, and coach Jennifer Crawford also admired the awareness of Obradovac, a freshman, to deliver a hard, accurate pass under pressure.
“Their combination play up top has been awesome,” Crawford said. “When they find each other, and they work with each other, they’re unstoppable.”
Archer went into halftime with the lead, but couldn’t park the bus to clinch the win. Grayson out-possessed the Tigers for most of the second half, but Coulter came up with save after save for Archer to keep the Tigers in front. She finished the game with 12 total stops and a clean sheet.
“(Grayson pushed) and we were backpedaling a little bit,” Crawford said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. The won balls and handled themselves under that intense pressure.”
The first half of Grayson’s boys game resembled that of the girls’ game with regards to the even possession, but both teams were creating far fewer chances in the first half.
The chance that Archer cashed in on wasn’t necessarily a chance, just a spirited try for sophomore midfielder Amari Williams. He found space from roughly 40 yards away and arched a long ball into the upper 90 past a diving Grayson goalkeeper to give Archer a 1-0 lead with 8:37 left in the first half.
It was Williams’ first varsity goal.
“They gave me a lot of space, a lot of time, so I just saw the open opportunity,” he said.
Archer had a few close-range chances after halftime, but couldn’t convert them into a brace. Grayson, meanwhile, had most of its opportunities on set pieces but struggled to finish.
Archer’s brace finally came with 15:25 left in the match. Jacob Cundey started a run down the sideline and the ball narrowly escaped the touchline before he turned toward the 18-yard box. The line judge ruled the ball in play and Cundey, a junior forward, found fellow junior forward Caleb Busboom for the tap in.
Cundey got his own goal when Williams delivered a long ground pass through the midfield that led him perfectly past the Grayson backline. Cundey was able to move close to the goal and finish past the goalkeeper for a 3-0 lead.
Archer (5-4, 3-1) is up to three consecutive region wins over Newton, Rockdale County and now Grayson. It boosts the team’s confidence after losing to Shiloh in penalties to start region play.
“It may be the best week in Archer boys soccer’s history,” head coach Colin Conners said. “We made the playoffs two years ago, had our first winning season last year. … (Shiloh) really put us behind the eight ball starting region and looking at really good teams like Rockdale and Grayson. That’s why this week is so huge.”
Grayson (2-4-1, 2-2) falls to even in region play this season.