LaGrange tops Smiths Station in home opener

Published 9:45 pm Monday, February 20, 2023

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After opening their schedule with six straight games away from home, the LaGrange girls soccer team got their first chance to play at Callaway Stadium this season and dominated Smiths Station 4-0.

“It feels fantastic to be back at home,” LaGrange coach Jon Callahan said. “We’ve been road warriors so far. The girls turned up and really played tonight for the home crowd.”

The Grangers rolled over the Panthers after dropping a game 4-2 to them a season ago.

“This is a very tough team to play against,” Callahan said. “It’s a team that took a big result off of us last year that I didn’t think they had any business taking, so it feels good to go out there and give a complete performance.”

Sam Cottle got the Grangers rolling early with a calmly taken penalty kick in the first half. She added a second goal when she scored the final Granger goal of the game —also from the penalty spot — as she decisively placed the ball in the upper corner. 

In between the two Cottle goals, the Grangers had to get first time varsity goal scorers get in on the action. Reese Humphries scored a goal on a Karley Perry assist in the first half to grab her first career varsity goal. Demi Russell added one of her own when she latched on to a Cottle through ball and lashed the ball back across goal and out of the keepers reach as the ball nestled in the back of the net.

“Karley Perry didn’t get a goal, but she was fantastic in creating moments for us,” Callahan said. “Very happy to see Reese get her first goal of her varsity career. I thought Gabi Martinez played really well and played a lot of minutes for us today.”

The scoreline did not flatter the Grangers, who completely outplayed the Panthers on the night. Emma Maradik made four saves, most of them comfortable, as she was able to keep her second clean sheet of the season.

“I love seeing Emma get a clean sheet, she was great,” Callahan said.

LaGrange has been swimming with sharks to start the season and now sits at 2-5 on the season. The Grangers will be back on the road Friday to take on a tough Bremen squad.

“We’re starting to figure out what works for our team,” Callahan said. “It takes a while and, unfortunately, we have taken some lumps. There have been a few games that we should have won, but those aren’t the ones that hurt you. As long as we do well in our region matches, we are in a great spot.”