PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Five public high school teams are set to kick off the playoffs on Thursday and Friday

Published 9:54 am Thursday, April 18, 2024

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The 2024 GHSA soccer playoffs are almost upon us and once again almost all the local teams will be making an appearance. There will be home games and road games as each team looks to make a run.



The Cavaliers did not fare well in the region championship matchup with Landmark Christian, losing 5-1, but used a 4-3 win over Towers earlier in the season to ensure they earned a second seed and a home playoff game going into the AA state playoffs. The win over Towers was huge as a loss last season to them saw the Cavaliers hit the road in the opening round of the state playoffs which ultimately led them to lose 7-1 to Drew Charter.

This season, Callaway will host Providence Christian, who finished third in Region 8-2A. The Storm (5-11) will be traveling down from Lilburn. Currently, the team has lost three of its last four games but will have three more non-region tune-up games before the playoffs.

It has been a big dropoff for the Storm, who finished as the state runner-up last season, falling 3-2 to Tattnall County in the state championship.

It will be a tough task for the Cavaliers regardless of how much of it seems like the Storm have taken a state back. The last time Providence Christian did not advance out of the first round of the playoffs (not including the COVID-19 year that was canceled) was back in 2019.

The Cavaliers are hungry for a deep run, having won just one playoff game in the last six seasons — a 2-1 win over Model in 2022 — and having never made the quarterfinals in program history. This could be the year as they have two senior leaders up front in Greyson Batchelor and Journee Jordan, a playmaker in the middle in sophomore Jayden Bailey and a rock-solid goalkeeper in the back in fellow sophomore Braydon Morris. 

Callaway is 11-4 and has won eight of its last nine games and will have three tune-up games next week starting on April 8 on the road to Central (Macon). The first round of the AA boys playoffs are set for  April 19.



Much like their male counterparts, Callaway did not have the ideal performance in a region championship game with Landmark Christian, but still secured a second seed and a home playoff game. The Cavaliers will open their playoff run with East Jackson (4-6-1).

The Eagles are an improved side after going (3-9-1) last season where they barely got into the playoffs where they were promptly eliminated 5-1 by Model. 

Both teams will be hungry for playoff success as the Eagles have not won a playoff game in at least a decade and Callaway since a 10-1 win over South Atlanta in 2018.

One of the big storylines for the Cavaliers going into the playoffs will be the status of senior leader Autumn Brown. The forward injured her collarbone in the opening game of the season and could potentially return for a playoff run.

Regardless of whether Brown is back or not, senior Mary Kate Baswell will have to be a key figure as the midfielder has been the team’s leading goal scorer this season. She is looking for her first playoff win as a Cavaliers before departing to play soccer at LaGrange College in the fall.

The Cavaliers will also need Alayna Leitheleiter to be at her best to make a deep run. Callaway’s starting keeper has been superb down the stretch and made some key saves to keep the Cavaliers in the region championship game, taking a 0-0 score into the half because of three big saves from the sophomore. 

The elder Leithleiter, Kadence, will be playing soccer with LaGrange College in the fall as well and will be key in helping lead a young team into the playoffs. 

Fellow senior Aylin Ulloa will start along the front line and is coming off a game-winning goal last time out in a 2-1 win over North Springs.

Callaway has won eight of its last nine games and will have three more non-region games next week before the start of the playoffs. The opening games are scheduled for April 18.



The Grangers are looking to build on one of their best-ever seasons in 2023 as the team made a run to the quarterfinals where they fell 5-0 to North Oconee. 

Last year, LaGrange played all three playoff games on the road and are scheduled to be on the road for at least the first two rounds this year as the team enters the playoffs as a fourth seed. A 4-3 loss to Whitewater and a 2-1 loss to Trinity Christian was the difference between the Grangers hosting a playoff game versus going on the road. It will be a long road trip —- though not quite as long as last year’s opening round visit to Islands in Savannah — to Bainbridge (14-0-1). Yes, the Grangers are a four-seed but are coming out of one of the toughest if not the toughest regions in 4A girls soccer.

The Bearcats don’t play the stiffest of competitions but are still a strong side coming off a season in which they made the second round of the playoffs, falling to LaGrange’a region rival Whitewater 5-0.

The Bearcats, like LaGrange, will have a pair of home non-region games next week to prepare for the upcoming clash between the two teams.

In attack, LaGrange is led by the dynamic trio of senior Sam Cottle, junior Karley Perry and sophomore Reese Humphries. 

Cottle leads the team 22 goals and is second on the team with 13 assists. The senior is committed to playing at the University of North Georgia next season. 

Humphries leads the team with 18 assists while scoring 16 goals. Perry, a Georgia State commit, has 18 goals and nine assists so far this season.

Senior Carlee Roland got injured against Whitewater which saw the team lose its defensive composure late. 



The Grangers have not quite hit the highs of last season in which they won the Region 4-4A championship. LaGrange hosted games in the opening two rounds of the state playoffs last season, destroying Wayne County 7-0 in the first round and narrowly edging out Bainbridge 1-0 in the second round en route to a quarterfinal appearance. 

LaGrange lost region games to Starr’s Mill and Whitewater this season which has caused the team to fall to third place in the region. This is the first time the Grangers have finished below second place in the region since 2016.

The Grangers will either rematch to Cairo in the first round of the state playoffs.

The Syrupmakers are 8-3 and are coming off a season in which they went 13-3-2 and made a trip to the state quarterfinals where they fell on penalties to North Oconee. 

Freshman Elvis Castillo will likely be the key for LaGrange as he has dazzled in his first year at the high school level. He leads the team with 21 goals while providing five assists as well.

Elvis’ older brother Anthony Castillo, a senior, has also been a key figure for LaGrange, scoring seven goals and providing 13 assists. He alongside fellow seniors Cade Hollstrom and Luke McSpadden are the leaders of the team. Hollstrom has been strong in the midfield this year, scoring seven goals and contributing eight assists.

Junior Roman’s Outland can be a game-changer when is in form and is second in the team with eight goals.

LaGrange (8-7) will play a pair of games next week against Bremen and East Coweta to prepare for the playoffs. The Grangers will host Bremen on Tuesday for senior night.



The Tigers will be entering the playoffs as a fourth seed for a second straight season and the program has been enjoying one of its best periods ever with a third straight playoff appearance. 

The team is being led by first-year head coach Braden Shealy, who is trying to build on the strong foundation previous coach Eddie Lawson left behind.

The Tigers will be traveling to Bainbridge for its opening-round playoff game.

The Bearcats fell in the second round of the state playoffs last season to LaGrange, 1-0.

The Tigers may be the underdog, but the team will like their chances against whoever they match up against after having to travel to eventual state runner-up Benedictine in the opening round a season ago.

Luis Merida has been leading the charge for the Troup attack all season long, scoring a team-high 13 goals. Luis along with twin brother Diego, who scored five goals this season, have been stalwarts for the program for the last four years and are going into their final run with the program.

Their younger brother, Augusto, is a key part of the team as well and is tied with Braidyn Patrick for second on the team for goals with seven goals.

Junior Yuri Kim has five goals and three assists and is one of the team’s most dynamic players as well.

Senior Thomas Cotton will be in goal and will be called upon to do a lot of heavy lifting in the back. 



For the second straight season, the Tigers missed out on the state playoffs. This will be a disappointment for all involved as the team had gone to the state playoffs twice in a row for the first time in program history in 2021 and 2022. Unfortunately, Troup could not figure out its new region the last two years, finishing fifth in the standings — one post out of the playoffs — the last two seasons.

On the bright side, the playoff format has been reformatted starting next season and the top four teams in the region will no longer be automatically given bids to the playoffs as a new point-based system based on the strength of wins and losses will determine the 32 teams that make the playoffs in each sport including girls soccer. 

The Tigers will also be entering a new region next season with LaGrange, Fayette County, Mary Persons, Sandy Creek, Spalding, Trinity Christian, Upson-Lee and Whitewater. It will be quite possibly, an even tougher region than they are currently in for girls soccer. 

Troup will be losing senior Susannah Lynn to Point University, but will be returning the majority of players from this year’s team as coach Carolyn Harkness goes into her third year in charge of the program.