LaGrange begins region schedule
Published 11:22 pm Thursday, March 1, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was a special ride for the LaGrange Lady Grangers.
LaGrange headed into its Region 5-AAAA soccer schedule last season believing it could be the team to beat.
That confidence, it turns out, was not misplaced.
Beginning with a 3-1 win over Central-Carroll, LaGrange went unbeaten in the region to capture the championship.
LaGrange secured the region title with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over Chapel Hill, and it wrapped up a perfect region record with a 1-0 victory over Cartersville.
LaGrange went on to win two games in the state playoffs before losing to Jefferson in the quarterfinals.
“It was very special,” said Andy Fritchley, who coaches the team along with Colin Ross. “And we ran the table (in the region). That was amazing.”
As memorable as the 2017 season was, it’s a new season, and a different team.
LaGrange is hoping the results will be the same, though.
First up is today’s game at Central-Carroll, and it’s a team that hung tough with LaGrange last season before losing 3-1.
LaGrange had some other hard-fought region wins last season as well, including the one-goal victories over Chapel Hill and Cartersville.
Fritchley expects the region schedule to be a grind again this spring.
“There really are no gimmes,” he said.
LaGrange (3-3-2) has played a challenging non-region schedule, and it is coming off a 1-1 tie to Pike County on Tuesday.
Sophomore Caroline Thompson is LaGrange’s leading scorer with eight goals, and freshman Sydney Ormsby has five goals.
Junior Izzy Pippin has three goals, and Devon Traylor, Eva Hutton, Emma Matthews, Kylie Russel and Maggie Asbell have one goal apiece.
Asbell’s goal came in the first half of the game against Pike County.
LaGrange’s defense is rounding into shape, and the team has given up just two goals in the past four games.
Senior goal keeper Maurie White is the last line of defense, and she had a superb game against Pike County with numerous saves.
Also today, LaGrange’s boys team will look to stay hot as it opens region play.
With Tuesday’s 3-2 come-from-behind win over Pike County, LaGrange (4-2-1) has won three consecutive games.
After struggling offensively last year, the Grangers have 27 goals in seven games this season.
That included a 10-goal performance against Dublin, as well as an eight-goal showing against Callaway last week.
In the win over Callaway, Robert Reese scored three goals, Liam McDonald and Grayson Bartley each had two goals, and Max Halcomb had one goal.
In Tuesday’s game, LaGrange rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the first half to beat Pike County.
Harrison Hunnicutt, Reese and Halcomb each scored goals for the Grangers, who rallied from two goals from behind for the second time this season.
“It’s games like this (against Pike) that get you ready for those kind of games on the road,” said Shane Pulliam, LaGrange’s first-year head coach. “Bad things happen, and you find a way to pull it together and get it done.”
After today’s games, LaGrange’s teams will be on the road against Cartersville and Sandy Creek next week before playing their first region home games against Cedartown on March 13.
LaGrange plays Troup on March 20 before closing the region schedule with a road game against Chapel Hill on March 23.
Also today, Callaway’s soccer teams face a road test against Lamar County as they look to improve to 2-0 in Region 5-AA.
Callaway’s teams opened region play with easy wins against Jordan on Tuesday.
While Callaway’s girls’ team thumped Jordan 11-1, Callaway’s boys’ team rolled to an 8-0 win.
The Lady Cavs showed off their offensive explosiveness with four different players scoring goals.
That included freshman Cheney Eubanks who had a hat trick with three goals, and those were her first goals as a varsity player.
Senior Kelly Carlisle returned from an injury and scored five goals, and Amiya McCurty, Abbie Gholston and Chloe McGuffin each had one goal.
Callaway’s boys’ got four goals from Ian Bryan, two from Joe Neese, and one apiece from Grayson Lambert and Michael Everett.
Troup’s teams have both played one Region 5-AAAA game, and they lost to Cartersville on Feb. 13.
Troup will return to region play next week with road games against Chapel Hill and Cedartown before the showdown with LaGrange on March 20.
Troup closes its region schedule on March 23 against Central-Carroll.