LaGrange soccer players honored
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
LaGrange High’s Sydney Ormsby’s specialty was scoring goals, and her teammate Rachel Harry’s job was keeping balls out of the back of the net.
Both players excelled at what they were asked to do, and their good work was recognized earlier this month when the all-Region 2-AAAA soccer team was unveiled.
While Ormsby was named the midfielder of the year, Harry was selected as the region’s top goal keeper.
In all, nine Lady Grangers made the all-region team during a successful season that ended with a loss in the second round of the state playoffs.
LaGrange’s boys’ team, which won a region championship and made it to the third round of the state playoffs, was also well-represented on the all-region team.
Included in that group was senior Cason Blackburn who was named the goal keeper of the year, while Shane Pulliam was named the coach of the year.
Nine LaGrange players made the all-region team, with five of them earning first-team honors.
For the Lady Grangers, Ormsby led the team with 22 goals, and that included a five-goal performance against Shaw, and she had four goals against Spencer and three against Troup.
Ormsby, who will play college soccer at Columbus State, had two goals in a hard-fought 2-2 tie with Auburn, and she had two goals in a 3-2 victory over Northside-Columbus.
Harry, meanwhile, was solid all season, and she has a season-high nine saves in a 4-0 loss to Oak Mountain, and she has eight saves against East Coweta, and six saves against Columbus.
Also earning first-team honors on the all-region team was senior Emma Matthews, who has started since she was a freshman and rarely left the field this season.
“She’s started every game for us, and has essentially played every minute unless we’re getting different people on the field,” said LaGrange coach Colin Ross.
Also making the first team was freshman Sam Cottle, who was LaGrange’s second-leading scorer with 13 goals, and she had three games where she had three goals.
Another first-team player for LaGrange was Kylie Russell, who will continue playing the sport at LaGrange College.
“She understands what she’s trying to do, what the team is trying to do,” said LaGrange coach Andy Fritchley. “She’s a better teammate than she is a player. She’s just an exceptional person. The girls look up to her. They love playing beside her. And when the pressure’s on, she’s going to make a play.”
Four LaGrange players are second-team all-region players, including Tatum Fritchley and Miller Williamson, who tied for third on the team with seven goals apiece.
Olivia Sato and Lily Skipworth, valuable defensive players for LaGrange, also made the second team.
For the Grangers, it was an exceptional season.
LaGrange won the region championship with an unbeaten record, and it advanced to the third round of the state playoffs before losing to East Hall 3-1.
East Hall went on to lose to Southeast Whitfield in the state-championship game.
One of LaGrange’s top players was senior Cason Blackburn, who was selected as the region’s top goal keeper.
Even when things broke down defensively, Blackburn was usually there to keep the opposing team from putting the ball in the net.
Blackburn averaged nearly five saves per game, and he had 10 saves during a 4-0 loss to Dalton, which won a state title. Blackburn had 10 saves in a loss to Starr’s Mill, and he racked up nine saves in a 1-0 victory over East Coweta.
Blackburn will continue his soccer career at Lindsey Wilson College, and he signed his letter of intent before the season began.
Another first-team all-region player for LaGrange is senior Pearson Knight, who led LaGrange with 19 goals.
Knight had a season-high five goals in a win over Spencer, and he scored four goals against Hardaway.
Junior Tripp Hollstrom had a big season with 17 goals, and he had two games where he scored three goals.
Senior Toni Sosa earned a first-team nod as well, and he’ll continue playing soccer at Keiser University (Fla.).
Davis Knight, a sophomore who scored 11 goals, also earned a first-team nod.
Four LaGrange players were second-team all-region picks.
Included in that group is senior Caleb Kostial, who scored his team’s lone goal in the playoff loss to East Hall.
Two members of LaGrange’s outstanding senior class, Ander Gay and Jacob Rogers, also made the all-region team, as did junior Miller DeVane.
Pulliam, who has enjoyed a stellar four-year tenure leading the LaGrange program, was the region’s coach of the year. LaGrange won the region title with an 8-0 record, and it made it to the state quarterfinals for the first time in a decade.