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LaGrange soccer teams set for showdown

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It’s decision day.

LaGrange High’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will put their region-title hopes on the line with today’s home games against Sandy Creek.

Both LaGrange teams are 5-0 in the region, and if they win today, they’ll be the champions.

A win by either Sandy Creek team, meanwhile, would create a three-way tie at the top of the region, and it would come down to a tie-breaker to determine the region’s top team.

Cartersville’s teams have finished their region schedules with a 5-1 record, with its losses coming to LaGrange.

Sandy Creek’s teams, who lost to Cartersville, are 4-1 in the region.

LaGrange tuned up for today’s massive games by hosting Brookstone on Thursday, and it was a split decision.

In the girls’ game, LaGrange scored a pair of second-half goals after falling behind 4-0, but it was Brookstone hanging on for a 4-2 victory.

In the boys’ game, LaGrange notched a pair of early goals, and it cruised to a 6-0 victory.

LaGrange head coach Shane Pulliam was thrilled with the performance of the second-line players who got an opportunity to get on the field in the second half.

Those same players struggled earlier in the week in a 6-4 win over Pike County.

Trailing 3-0, Pike County scored three straight goals against LaGrange’s second unit.

It was the same situation on Thursday when Pulliam went to the bench, and he let those players know what was expected of them.

“The second group went in tonight, and they didn’t give up anything,” Pulliams said. “The last time they went in, we gave up three. Before they went in, I called them over here and said what’s the score? It’s 3-0. What happened last time? We gave up three goals. What’s not going to happen this time? We’re not going to give up goals.”

With those players on the field in fact, the Grangers added to their lead and preserved the shutout.

“We’re not just developing for this season,” Pulliam said. “That’s basically a look into next year’s group, and they were almost as good as the group that came off.”

The Grangers set the tone moments into the game when Robert Reese scored, and they didn’t look back.

Johnny McDonald had a hat trick for the Grangers with three goals, and Robert Reese, Josue Recinos and Logan Lopez each had one goal.

McDonald also chipped in with two assists, and Reese, Jimmy Cancino and Jason Recinos had one assist apiece.

In the girls’ game, LaGrange was down 3-0 at the half, and that deficit grew to four early in the second half.

The Lady Grangers got on the board on a goal from Caroline Thompson, with Sydney Ormsby assisting.

Ormsby added a goal of her with 7:21 to play to cut LaGrange’s deficit to two.

Ormsby showed off her one-on-one skills by beating a handful of Brookstone defenders, and she slipped the ball past the goal keeper.

Earlier in the week, LaGrange lost to Pike County 6-1 after trailing 2-1 at the half.

“We know we’re a better team than the results have shown the last two games against two quality teams,” LaGrange coach Andy Fritchley said. “But still, you want the score to reflect the quality of play. We switched a few things up at halftime, and we controlled the tempo a whole lot better.”

If the Lady Grangers win tonight, they’d not only claim their third consecutive region championship, but they’d improve to 18-0 in region games over the past three years.

“We’ve played two very difficult teams, and that’s to prepare us for that game,” Fritchley said.