Coweta Cup Soccer
East Coweta girls rebound to capture 3rd straight county crown
by Doug Gorman
East Coweta’s girls soccer team may have lost their hold of first place in Region 3-AAAAAA this week. But they kept their share of bragging rights in the county.
Thanks to Friday night’s 3-1 victory at home against Northgate, the Lady Indians captured their third consecutive Coweta Cup.
This year’s county tournament couldn’t have been any closer with Newnan defeating East Coweta 1-0 and Northgate beating the Lady Cougars 1-0 in matches earlier this week. East Coweta came into Friday's contest needing to win by at least two goals in order to keep the county trophy for the third straight year.
It’s the fourth time the Lady Indians have won the Coweta Cup since the tournament first started.
With the victory, East Coweta improved its record to 8-3. The Lady Vikings fell to 6-3.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” said East Coweta head coach Chris Luppens. “Monday we didn’t capitalize against Newnan and it cost us the region. At least we were able to keep the Coweta Cup. We needed a two-goal advantage and we got it.”
(To view photos from this contest, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)
Leading 2-0 at the end of the first half, East Coweta added an insurance goal when Serenity Waters dribbled in all alone, deked Lady Viking keeper Mattea Lewis, and booted the ball into an open net for a 3-0 lead.
Northgate cut the lead to 3-1 midway through the second half on Micayla Crenshaw’s goal.
East Coweta took a 2-0 lead in the first half on two goals from Lynnsey Danford. Danford scored the first on a breakdown by the Northgate defense. After drawing Lewis out of the net, the Lady Indians passed the ball around and found Danford for an open shot around the 19 minute mark.
Botth teams had a chance to answer Danford’s first score of the game.
East Coweta had four corner-kick opportunities, while Northgate finished with just two.
Katie Mitchell and Haylie Verbanic each had a couple of late-scoring chances for the Lady Vikings. After working the ball downfield with Ren Waters on two occasions, the connection hit paydirt around the 39-minute mark on a bang-bang pass and shot.
“It was a physical game, but that was something we were really expecting,” said Luppens “For our girls to come out and work as hard as they did, I am really proud of them.”
East Coweta hopes to build on the victory against Northgate going down the stretch.
“We have never lost a Coweta Cup, and we are really working hard,” said Lady Indians junior forward Nikki Brandley. “It’s a good feeling."
Brandley admits the Lady Vikings knew they had to have at least two goals going in the contest, but were really just worried about winning the game, not goal deferential.
“I think we were concentrating on our defensive line with good work in the back came our goals,” she said.
With just one senior and four juniors on this year’s team, East Coweta had to get a roster full of sophomores and freshmen up to speed. The team is starting to connect with each other heading down the stretch.
“We are so young, that winning this means a lot,” said junior Katie Sutherland. “We are really starting to come together.”