Second-half goal lifts LaGrange at state
By Kevin Eckleberry
LAGRANGE – Step one’s in the books.
The LaGrange Lady Grangers (13-3-1) continued what has been an exceptional season by beating White County 1-0 on Tuesday afternoon at Callaway Stadium in the opening round of the Class AAAA state tournament.
It wasn’t easy.
White County, the number four seed from Region 7-AAAA, proved to be a worthy opponent for Region 5-AAAA-champion LaGrange.
It was a scoreless game until, with a little more than 11 minutes remaining, freshman Caroline Thompson delivered the game’s only goal.
White County was unable to find the tying goal, and LaGrange was moving on.
LaGrange’s opponent in the round of 16 will be Cairo, which blanked Thomson 4-0 in the first round.
That game will be played on May 2 at Callaway Stadium.
LaGrange had its hands full with White County, and that wasn’t a surprise to the players.
“They were a really evenly-matched team with us, and that’s what we expected,” Thompson said. “We didn’t expect an easy game, and they did not give us an easy game at all.”
The Lady Grangers had plenty of scoring chances before Thompson’s break-through goal.
One of LaGrange’s best opportunities came with 26 minutes left in the first half when Maggie Asbell had a break-away, and the White County goal keeper came out of the box to make a nice save.
The Lady Grangers had a few more chances in the first half, but they couldn’t convert, and it was scoreless heading to the break.
Finally, with 11:26 to play, the Lady Grangers found the net, with Thompson scoring on an assist from Asbell.
“She got in good position, and got it past the keeper,” LaGrange coach Colin Ross said.
Thompson has stepped into the lineup this season and become an integral member of the team, and Ross said she “acted as our play-maker all game. She was working her butt off.
Thompson said her confidence level has grown as the season has gone along, and she credits her teammates for that.
“I feel a lot more comfortable with these girls, and they give me confidence, definitely,” Thompson said.
Ross said it was a team effort.
“Hannah (Asbell) cleaned up well for us, Anna Shank did her usual job of marking tight, and Vanessa (Lopez) was phenomenal locking down her side,” Ross said. “And just the constant work of Maddie (Patton), and Caroline, and Abby (Mazzolini) in the midfield was great.”
At the back end of the defense, goal keeper Maurie White made some critical saves.
“Maurie did a great job,” Ross said. “She did everything she was asked to do.”
Thompson said she’s grateful the team’s seniors will be able to keep playing.
The team’s three seniors are Maddie Patton, Hannah Asbell and Catherine Patton, although Catherine Patton has been unable to play this season because of injury.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t Hannah’s and Maddie’s last game, so that’s really cool,” Thompson said.
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