As the No. 3 seed, Cartersville is matched up on the road today against West Hall, the No. 2 seed from Region 7, and if the Canes advance to the second round, they will face the No. 1-ranked team in the state, Woodward Academy.
“There are no breaks on this one. We made it as difficult as can be, but if we make it past the first two rounds, there’s no reason we can’t be in the semis or the finals depending on how you line it up,” Cartersville head coach D.J. Paradis said. “Unfortunately, it’s two really good teams going against each other in the first round. I look forward to this match because, whoever wins this match, will probably go play Woodward and the winner of that game will most likely make it to the semifinals, if not, the finals.”
Cartersville is currently ranked third in Class AAA, according to the latest Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll, behind Woodward and St. Pius after posting a 13-5 regular season record. West Hall is ranked sixth.
Paradis has done his research on West Hall and believes his team matches up well.
“West Hall is a very good team. We’ve gotten a lot of information on them. We know that they are a very good attacking team. We know a lot of their weak points are our strong points. We know that, if we get the ball outside quickly, that we can break on them, and hopefully, we can take advantage of our speed,” he said. “West Hall has fast forwards up front, very strong backline and center. We also know that there outside midfielders work very well and very high, so they are very attack-minded. They take every opportunity they can get.”
Cartersville has allowed approximately one goal per game during region play and Paradis feels confident in his defensive group to stop West Hall.
“The great thing is we have a great defense, and it’s one that we think can shut their midfield and their forwards down,” he said. “We match up well. one of our strengths is our defense and one of their strengths is their offense, so I think it will be a battle of wills.”
Paradis said he will not make any game plan adjustments and will play to his own team’s strengths like Cartersville has done all season.
“We’re just going to stick with our game,” he said. “We’re going to play quick, 1-2 touches. We’re going to find the open space, attack the width of the field, and after that, find the goal. That’s been our strategy all year. We feel that’s been our strength, to make sure we get the ball wide and fast and quickly, find the open spaces and shoot when there’s an opening.”
The strategy has worked recently as the Canes have won 10 of their last 11 games by an average margin of victory of 3.7 goals per game, including a 10-0 victory over Adairsville in the season finale on April 22.
Cartersville hopes to continue its strong play and will have a strong chance to advance deep into the tournament if the squad can get past its first two matches.