The Br-5 North Georgia Nighthawks have emerged as the team to beat in the Peach Belt Conference — that’s something to brag about for a league that contains four teams in the Top 30 and two in the Top 15.
North Georgia hasn’t just squeaked out wins though its first five games of the season en route to a perfect 5-0 record, either. The team exploded out of the gate and hasn’t looked back, creaming BR-78 Valdosta State 3-0; BR-182 Converse 3-0; BR-187 Lees-McRae 3-1; BR-121 Queens (NC) 3-0 and BR-151 Young Harris 1-0.
The Nighthawks have outscored their opponents 13-1 and have taken an astounding 109 shots while allowing just 29 — 53 shots on goal to an opposing 8. Breaking that down a bit further, North Georgia has taken an average of 21.8 shots per game. When you blast the goal at an unrelenting pace, nothing but good things are going to happen.
And corner kicks? The team has 35 of them and has given up 9. Oh, they’re also 2 for 2 in penalty kicks.
The best part about this squad is that no one single athlete stands out above the rest. Mollie Arrendale leads the way with 4 goals and 1 assist. Jacy Ramey has 3 goals and two assists, Jade Pennock has 2 goals, Sophia Matonak has a goal and 3 assists, Rachel Van Horn has a goal and an assist and both Michaela Sundstrom and Kassidy Freeman have a goal apiece.
Ramey has two game-winners on her sheet while Arrendale, Pennock and Freeman each have one. Anybody on this roster can lift the team to victory on any given night.
If you wonder about the defense, well, the team is as good as its starting goalie, Mallory Sayre. This senior shot stopper has logged a full 450 minutes, saved seven balls while facing 24 shots, has four shutouts, a 0.875 save percentage and a 0.20 goals against average.
A defensive line of Taylor Wagnon, Megan Gil, Jessi Vaverka and Jordan Draughon helps soften her job between the posts, but credit this ‘keeper with keeping her team in the game each and every night.
North Georgia shows no signs of slowing down, either, but the team will face a bump up in competition soon.
After taking on BR-125 Georgia College on Saturday, the team takes on BR-44 Lenoir-Rhyne and BR-26 Armstrong in back-to-back games on Sept. 29 and Oct. 3, respectively. Can the Nighthawks continue to fly above the fray and post wins in fifth toughest conference in the nation? Or will they crash and burn when they face the best of the best? We’ll find out soon.