East Coweta sweeps Newnan to open Coweta Cup
by Doug Gorman
East Coweta’s girls soccer team’s 4-0 shutout victory over host Newnan on Monday at Drake Stadium provided more than a first step toward a potential Coweta Cup trophy.
It also earned the Lady Indians a bit of revenge against their closest rivals as well as clinched this year’s Region 3-AAAAAA championship.
It’s East Coweta third region crown over the last four years, after the Lady Cougars whisked away a year ago in a fierce battle for first place.
“I am proud of them,” East Coweta head coach Chris Luppens said. “To get another region title is big. It wasn’t a pretty win, but we will take it.”
With the loss, Newnan dropped to 7-6 and 3-2 in 3-AAAAAA while having to settle for the No. 3 seed and a first-round state playoff game on the road.
In the second game of Monday’s soccer doubleheader, the East Coweta boys finished off the sweep with a 10-2 victory over the Cougars to get their quest for the Coweta Cup off to a flying start.
The girls game was much tighter throughout the opening 40 minutes.
The Lady Indians (10-2, 5-0 in 3-AAAAAA) took a 1-0 lead about 13 minutes into the contest when Nikki Brandley converted a shot just seconds after the senior missed a header after taking a feed from teammate Serenity Waters for team’s first scoring chance of the game.
The lead stood until halftime before visiting East Coweta pulled away with three goals in the final 40 minutes.
Solid defense kept the Lady Cougars in the game throughout the contest with freshman goaltender Francis Arnall making several key saves for Newnan. Morgan Robeson made at least two slide tackles to clear the ball out of the box during the contest while Rebecca Turner headed the ball away from the goal crease after it seemed destined for left corner of the net midway through the first half.
East Coweta senior Anna Lauzon helped add some breathing room for her teammates, adding a goal in the 57th minute and before feeding junior teammate Lynnsey Danford to put the Lady Indians ahead 3-0.
Waters rounded out the scoring on an assist from Danford on East Coweta’s final goal.
East Coweta plays defending Class AAAAA state champion Northgate on Wednesday when Coweta Cup action resumes.
Newnan will play Northgate on Friday to conclude the three-team round-robin tournament.
EAST COWETA 10, NEWNAN 2: The Indians, who have lost seven one-goal games this season were able to use Monday to put an end to some frustration.
“We have been so close,” said head coach Todd Beldon. “This feels really good to come in here and get the win.”
After going to the Class AAAAAA Final Four last season, the first part of the 2014 campaign has been a collection of near misses as the Indians (5-7, 3-2) lost everyone of their seven games by just one goal.
Against their biggest rivals, East Coweta got back on track as six team members scored goals against a Newnan lineup that is trying to rebuild under first year coach Justin Turner.
The loss dropped the Cougars to 1-12 and completed the 3-AAAAAA schedule at 1-4 in a three-way tie for the final state playoff berth from the region with Westlake and Langston Hughes.
The good news for Newnan is they hold tiebreakers in goal differential in play against both common opponents (5 GF,2GA) as well as region play (10 GF, 25 GA) and look to be in position to advance to the state playoffs.
On Monday, Todd Davis scored the first of his three goals for East Coweta less than two minutes into the game
Newnan held its own early, tying the contest at 1-1 on a goal by Fletcher Hall, only to see the Indians put together three unanswered goals before halftime.
With East Coweta ahead 4-1 at the break, the Cougars cut the lead in half on a goal by Mark Morelli.
From there, however, the Indians capped off the win with a six-goal surge over the final 20 minutes.
Zac Slaton and Austin Cosby each finishedw with two goals for East Coweta while Cole Antley, Luke Shumake and Will Lindquist also scored.
Newnan played a portion of the second half down two men after two of its players were ejected for getting red cards.
The Cougars goalkeeper Jack Vargas kept the score from getting worse thanks to some terrific saves in both halves
Chad Holland started in the goal for the Indians and also made several key saves to keep his team ahead.
East Coweta plays Northgate in its final Coweta Cup match on Wednesday night back at Newnan’s Drake Stadium, but Beldon admitted, he may be missing from the sidelines.
Beldon and wife Gina are expecting their fifth child — another boy — according to the coach. Gina has been on extended bed rest awaiting Bryson’s delivery to join older brothers Beau, Brock, Blaze, and Buck.
“Not really sure what I am going to do,” coach Beldon said. “If all goes well, I will try and be here.”