The scheduled start time for Saturday’s Class AAA state championship girls soccer match between No. 4-state ranked Spalding and No. 1 state-ranked Blessed Trinity has been set for 7:30 p.m.
Spalding coach Amanda Breland said originally Blessed Trinity wanted to schedule the match for 5 p.m., and Spalding wanted 7 p.m.
She said Blessed Trinity just wanted to avoid playing in the sun as much as possible, because their stadium surface sits half in the shade and half in the sun during the late afternoon hours, to the point where one of the keepers could have the sun directly in their eyes.
Spalding’s reason for wanting to scheduled the match later was so that trainer Paul Hubbard would have time to make it from Columbus - where the SHS baseball team could be playing Game 3 in an opening-round state playoff series against Columbus - to Blessed Trinity in Roswell, a good three hours away.
“It’s psychological,” Breland told Blessed Trinity, “but the girls will want the same person taping their ankles that has done it all season.”
When the two schools were done talking around 9 a.m., Thursday, they settled on a 7:30 p.m., start time.
Both teams won tightly contested Final Four matches nearly 12 hours earlier to advance to the finals, Spalding defeating No. 2-state ranked Columbus 2-1 and Blessed Trinity defeating No. 3-ranked North Hall 1-0.
Spalding (18-3), which is now the deepest its ever been in the state playoffs, comes into the match riding a 17-match win streak. A SHS victory Saturday would make the Lady Jags the first girls team from inside the county boundaries to win a state championship in any team sport during the modern era.
Blessed Trinity (15-0-1), meanwhile, hasn’t lost this season. They go into Saturday’s match looking to extend a legacy that includes winning the state championship outright in 2004 and 2007, being named co-state champs in 2006 and finishing state runner-up in 2005.
The only meeting between the two teams came in the 2006 Final Four where Blessed Trinity won 4-1 at Memorial Stadium in Griffin.