By Kevin Eckleberry firstname.lastname@example.org
April 28, 2014
Defense has been LaGrange’s calling card this season.
The Grangers are giving up less than a goal per game, and during their seven Region 5-AAAA matches, they only allowed one total goal.
You can’t win without putting the ball in the net, though, and the Grangers have been pretty good at that as well.
Griffin Bartley leads a balanced LaGrange scoring effort with nine goals, and Michael Brackett and Jason Fagundes have eight goals apiece.
Fagundes also has five assists, and he’s the team’s leading scorer with 24 points.
Yimmi Posada, Marat Rosencrants and Qua Tucker have two goals apiece, and Jay Free, Kyler Hall, Nick Hinson, Joseph Lee and Matthew Thomas have each scored one goal.
POSSIBLE REMATCH: The LaGrange Grangers have lost four matches this season.
In the state playoffs, they may get a chance to avenge two of those losses.
On March 1, LaGrange lost to Stone Mountain 2-1.
It was tied 1-1 through regulation and two overtime periods, and Stone Mountain ended up winning on penalty kicks.
On April 8, the Grangers took a 1-0 lead over Spalding County, but they ended up losing 2-1.
Stone Mountain and Spalding County could both be future opponents of LaGrange in the Class AAAA state tournament.
LaGrange would face Stone Mountain in the second round, and it could end up matched up against Spalding County in the quarterfinals.
“Our bracket, we could play Stone Mountain in the second round, and we lost to them this year. And we could play Spalding, who we always lost to,” LaGrange goal keeper Michael Coffman said. “We want to get back at them again.”
HOME COOKING: Some of LaGrange’s biggest wins this season have come at Callaway Stadium, including a 2-0 victory over Columbus that wrapped up the Region 5-AAAA championship.
The Grangers enjoy playing on their home turf in front of their enthusiastic fans, which is good news looking forward.
If the Grangers are able to keep winning, they’ll be at home for the first four rounds of the state playoffs, with the championship game set to be held at a neutral location.
“We’ve had the upper-classmen out, and when the upper-classmen come, everybody else does,” Coffman said. “The support has been great.”
BLUE SOX: The Grangers are a veteran team, and the players have not only played together during high school, but most of them were also part of a travel team in the offseason, the LaGrange Blue Sox.
Most of the players participated in travel soccer before, but with the creation of the Blue Sox, they were able to be on the same team.
“We always wanted to do it, and we finally got it into play last year. As you can see, it helped a lot,” Free said. “We’ve been playing with each other awhile, but we really learned about each other, how to play to one another.”
Coach Keita Placide felt it was a necessary move if the program was going to keep progressing.
“We realized that what these (successful) teams have on us is they have great club programs,” Placide said. “They keep their group together. So I said, let’s try to do the same thing.”