The Grangers girls soccer team sees impressive season come to an end in second round of the playoffs

Published 9:14 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2022

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The LaGrange girls soccer team fell to reigning AAAA state champions North Oconee 8-0 on Thursday. The Grangers put up a valiant effort but were overmatched by the AAAA favorites.

The Grangers could not find much offense in the match as North Oconee kept them pinned back for the majority of the match. The game could have been much worse if Emma Maradik did not stand on her head in goal and make a whopping 14 saves.

It was a long and winding road for the Grangers as the team had a win streak of three games and a losing streak of three games as they finished the season with a record of 9-11. The record was a bit deceptive as the team took on a much more difficult schedule than in years past.

The team won its first playoff game since 2019 when they also got bounced in the second round of the playoffs. The Grangers beat West Laurens 7-0 in the first round.

This was head coach Jon Callahan’s first season in charge of the Grangers and has them trending in the right direction. LaGrange will be returning eight of 11 starters and the vast majority of the team as only four seniors will be graduating.

The team will be losing starting center back Morgan White, starting fullback Delfina Martinez, starting defender/midfielder Olivia Sato and backup goalkeeper/full back Mariana Ceja. The team will miss their leadership and talents but will keep their starting midfield and attackers mostly intact.

Star attackers Sam Cottle and Karley Perry were the two leading goal scorers for the Grangers this season and will be back next season as they are a sophomore and freshman respectively. Tatum Fritchley and Maddi Heard were already leaders for the team but will presumably progress even more heading into their senior seasons. They already dominate the midfield and will likely grow stronger in the offseason as they mature. Besides Perry’s prowess in the final third, Ava Arrington flashed a lot of potential from this year’s freshman crop. Maradik was also a stalwart in goal and is only a freshman as the Grangers started a lot of underclassmen, which will bode well for their future.

Under Callahan’s stewardship, the team is starting to morph into his vision for how the team should play. Callahan will continue to challenge his team as he plans to take on another tough non-region schedule next year.