Gwinnett County failed to bring home a state championship in girls soccer last season for the first time since 2011.
That was a bit of a letdown for a county that claimed three championships in 2015 – Grayson in Class AAAAAA, Greater Atlanta Christian in AA and Hebron Christian in A.
However, Gwinnett teams will be serious contenders to end the one-year title drought this season, with at least one team ranked in the top six in five of the seven classifications. Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill hold the top two spots in the recent Score Atlanta Class AAAAAAA rankings; Dacula is No. 6 in AAAAAA; Buford is No. 2 in AAAAA; Greater Atlanta Christian is No. 3 in AAA; and Wesleyan is No. 2 in Class A.
Not coincidentally, many of the state’s top players play for Gwinnett schools. Eight of the 10 players listed on Top Drawer Soccer’s Spring High School All-American watch list are from the county.
Here are a few players to watch, from Gwinnett and elsewhere, as the regular season winds down and the playoffs begin:
*T.J. Anderson (Wesleyan): The midfielder was named Class AA player of the year for Wesleyan in 2016, when the Wolves reached the second round of the playoffs. She has signed with Louisville. “She is tough in a tackle, dominant in the air, and has a very dangerous long throw,” Louisville coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes said in a press release. Wesleyan is seeking its first state title.
*Jenn Colter (Savannah Christian): The defender started every game in her freshman season and is a captain as a senior. Colter, a club soccer player for the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy, led Savannah Christian in goals (16) and assists (nine) in 2016, when the Raiders reached the second round of the Class A playoffs. Colter has signed with South Carolina.
*M.E. Craven (Lambert): The junior defender is a two-time all-region player who helped the Longhorns reach the Class AAAAAA playoffs last season and the state championship match in 2015. She was recently named the Region 5-AAAAAAA basketball player of the year for a Lambert team that advanced to the state quarterfinals. Craven has committed to Auburn.
*Rachel Jones (Collins Hill): The junior forward/midfielder, a North Carolina commitment, was a member of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team that traveled to England for three matches in February. Jones teamed with midfielder/defender Olivia Dedels (Auburn commitment) to lead Collins Hill to the state semifinals in 2016. The Eagles are looking for their first state championship.
*Brittany Montgomery (Grayson): The 5-foot-6 senior forward had 27 goals and nine assists as a sophomore and 20 goals and nine assists as a junior. She led her Gwinnett Soccer Association club team in scoring in 2015 and 2016. Montgomery helped Grayson win the 2015 state championships and three consecutive region titles. She has signed with Brown University. Grayson is ranked No. 10.
*Gigi Schorr (Columbus): The senior defender leads a unit that has allowed just four goals in the fourth-ranked Blue Devils’ 10-0-1 start. Schorr, who has overcome two ACL reconstructions, is a three-time All Bi-City selection by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and won consecutive player of the year awards at Columbus. Schorr plays club soccer for Birmingham United and signed with Alabama.
Other Georgia members of the Top Drawer watch list include Carly Anderson of North Gwinnett, Olivia Dedels of Collins Hill, Keely Hoppmeyer of Mill Creek, Taylor Mason of Greater Atlanta Christian and Abigail Mitchell of Wesleyan.