The GHSA Soccer State Championships are a month away. For area hopefuls, the battle to get there starts now.
With region playoff action set to get underway this week, DeKalb Neighbor Sports is using this space to highlight squads and players who have managed to distinguish themselves thus far.
Remember these — some might be poised to pick up some postseason hardware in the weeks to come.
Contenders — boys
Stone Mountain appears to be the real deal, evidenced by a stellar 10-3 record.
The Pirates have been paced by the prolific offensive output of seniors Nahome Aberra (12 goals), Abel Abay (10) and Daniel Debesa (9).
The club also boasts five other players who have scored at least five goals on the roster. That includes senior Idwar Dikori, whose 11 assists rank him among the county’s leaders in that category. Unsurprisingly, multiple teammates are among those on his heels.
The (8-2) Tigers have made a fair amount of noise in their own right.
Senior Josiah Saydee — his 15 goals and 13 assists both tops in DeKalb — is having a season for the ages. Meanwhile, freshman teammate Moo Lay (10 goals) has quickly come into his own.
At 8-3, the Indians look every bit legit.
Freshman Gilbert Ramos has reached double digits in goals scored; junior Juan Herrera is about to do the same in assists.
Contenders — girls
The Lady Vikings are undefeated through their first 13 contests, with only one of those ending in a tie.
The club’s dominance at both ends just might carry it all the way to state gold.
Junior Shannon Hagopian (11 goals; 14 assists) and sophomore Brittanie Evans (8 and 23) provide the team’s scoring punch while second-year goalie Ashley Graham — two goals allowed in 12 starts — has been a brick wall.
Chamblee is knocking on the door of what could be a long postseason run, provided the team continues to improve.
The junior tandem of Louise McGirt and Ally Jones has a combined 24 goals, leading the Lady Bulldogs to a solid 8-3 mark.