End of the road for LaGrange
Published 11:20 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was another phenomenal season for the LaGrange Lady Grangers.
For the third consecutive year, the Lady Grangers captured a region championship while winning at least one game in the state playoffs.
Unfortunately for LaGrange, its stellar season came to a close on Wednesday night against a formidable opponent.
Blessed Trinity, a private school from Roswell, scored a pair of goals in the first 16 minutes on the way to a 6-1 victory in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
It’s the second straight year LaGrange’s season ended against an Atlanta-area private school.
A year ago, LaGrange hung tough with eventual state-champion Marist before losing 3-0 in the second round.
LaGrange was hoping to take the next step this season and make it to the quarterfinals, but it was unable to keep pace with a strong Blessed Trinity squad.
It wasn’t the ending LaGrange was hoping for, but the team still accomplished a great deal this season.
LaGrange went 6-0 in Region 5-AAAA for a third consecutive season, and it beat Stephens County 3-2 in the first round of the state playoffs.
“(Workouts) started in November, and they showed the commitment that we have,” said Colin Ross, who coaches the team along with Andy Fritchley. “Probably eight of these girls were here for every conditioning. It showed. We won a lot of big games. But if we want to advance, we have to find a way to beat a team like this. It’s hard when you’re playing teams that are soccer-heavy areas, when they can offer academic scholarships to play. Roswell’s got incredible soccer. We have to beat successful with 13 people, and today we weren’t, and that’s how it works sometimes.”
Blessed Trinity broke through for the first goal 12 minutes into the game, and it added another goal three minutes later.
Blessed Trinity kept attacking, and it had a 4-0 lead at the half.
Trailing 6-0, LaGrange avoided the shutout when Caroline Thompson scored with 5:29 to play.
It was the final game for three seniors, Vanessa Lopez, Izzy Pippin and Katelyn Peters.
“For the last three years, Vanessa has been crucial to our success,” Ross said. “Caitlyn took last year off to kind of recover (from a knee injury), and this year she was really important for us. And Izzy is like the heart of the team.”
While those players will be missed, everyone else will be returning, including Caroline Thompson and Sydney Ormsby, who were the leading scorers.
Also coming back is sophomore Emma Matthews, who anchored the defense and played well against Blessed Trinity.
“Credit to Emma Matthews,” Ross said. “She’s just incredible back there how good she was.”
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