Strong second half powers Grangers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The LaGrange Grangers broke open a close game in the second half to earn a 6-1 win over the rival Troup Tigers in a Region 2-AAAA soccer showdown on Tuesday night at Callaway Stadium.
LaGrange scored a goal in the first two minutes of the game, but that was it for the first-half scoring, and Troup was very much in the game trailing 1-0 at the break.
LaGrange put five more goals in the second half to win going away and improve to 2-0 in Region 2-AAAA.
Troup fell to 1-1 in the region, but remains very much in the playoff picture after getting a key win over Shaw last week.
Caleb Kostial got the scoring started for the Grangers with an early goal, and they were ahead 1-0 at the half.
Less than two minutes into the second half Toni Sosa scored, and Pearson Knight, Tripp Hollstrom, Davis Knight and Jason Recinos followed with goals to cap the scoring.
Hollstrom had two assists, and Sosa, Noah Whipple and Recinos each had one assist.
While happy to see his team get a win, LaGrange head coach Shane Pulliam is hoping for an improved performance heading into some key games in the coming weeks, including a showdown with Columbus on March 17 that could determine the region championship.
“We’ll have to play a little bit better than this over the course of an entire game,” Pulliam said. “There were times where we dominated everything and forced everything and could score boom, boom, boom. But there were times where we couldn’t do anything, where we struggled to connect.”
Troup scored its goal in the second half on a penalty kick by Diego Merida. Compared to previous years it was an improved performance against LaGrange, and Troup was coming off a 2-0 victory over Shaw last week.
“I think we are a much-improved team. I like this team,” said Troup head coach Eddie Lawson. “They’re a family, and they’re going to go places. I feel confident that we’re going to win some games, and that we’re going to be somebody that people are going to have to worry about. You can’t just pencil in a win.”
With so many talented younger players, Lawson is excited about the prospects for the program moving forward.
“We start seven freshmen and sophomores, and two seniors and two juniors,” Lawson said. “That’s our starting lineup. The foundation is being built to get the program where it needs to be, and that’s a credit to these guys.
“They stayed with us. They haven’t bailed on us, and we’ve gone through some tough time. We’re starting to see some of those hard knocks we took the past couple of years start to pay off. I’m real proud of my boys. I thought they played hard.”