EC to meet for second time in 2014 in Elite 8

By DOUG GORMAN

dgorman@newnan.com


East Coweta’s girls soccer team is hoping history can repeat itself tonight when the Lady Indians travel to Centennial High School in Roswell in the GHSA Class AAAAAA Soccer Quarterfinals in a 6 p.m. contest.

In late March, East Coweta traveled north of Atlanta and defeated the Lady Knights 3-1 on their home field. Since then, however, both lineups have gone on to win respective Area 3 and Area 6 titles before advancing through the first-two rounds of the state playoffs.

Regardless, East Coweta head coach Chris Luppens knows his girls can’t overlook Centennial if they wish to reach the GHSA Final Four.

“We were very fortunate to get out of there with a victory,” said Luppens. “Centennial is a really good team. They are much more improved and we are going to have to play very well. We can’t look past them.”

The Lady Indians enter the game with a 14-5-1 record, while Centennial is 10-8.

With a victory, East Coweta will become the second straight soccer team from the school to advance to the Final Four. Last season the boys squad made it before falling to Berkmar.

On Wednesday, the Lady Indians kept their season alive with a 1-0 win over Hillgrove when seniors Nikki Brandley hooked up with goal scorer Ren Waters on a pass for the only goal of the game and a 1-0 victory .

Waters and Brandley have been feeding off each other’s play for the last four years

The victory set up the Lady Indians’ first trip back to the Elite 8 since current seniors Brandley, Waters, Anna Lauzon and Katie Sutherland were ninth graders.

“This group of seniors has bought into the program since day one,” Luppens said. “They work hard and just don’t want to lose. They have passed off their work ethic to our younger players.”

In addition to the four seniors, East Coweta also has four juniors, and six sophomores and freshman goalie Sam Hoffman.

Juniors Lynnsey Danford, S.K. Palmer, and Morgan Hasse have all played an important role from the midfield. Two more 11th graders, Abigail Pepper and Tara Federico have denied opponents along both wings as outside backers while joining Sutherland on the back line.

East Coweta opened the playoffs with 6-0 victory over Colquitt County to set up its showdown with Hillgrove on Wednesday.

The two victories in the playoffs helped East Coweta extend the winning streak to three games, including a 6-0 decision over Alexander to close out the regular season.

Steady offense and stellar defense has accounted for the Lady Indians’ success.

Defensively, East Coweta shutout 12 opponents, while scoring 10 goals against lesser opponents five times.

East Coweta won the Region 3-AAAAAA title with a 1-0 decision over Douglas County and a 4-0 win over rival Newnan.

Centennial has struggled at times this year giving up at last three goals or more five times and earning just two shutouts, but Luppens won’t allow his team think it can just show up and win because of their victory against the Lady Knights earlier this year.

Make no mistake about it,” he said. “They are a good team, and we are going to have to be ready.”

The winner of tonight’s game meets the winner between No. 1-ranked Grayson and Kennesaw Mountain next Wednesday.


GHSA Class AAAAAA

Girls Soccer Quarterfinals

Today’s Game

East Coweta (14-5-1) at Centennial (10-8), 6 p.m., Roswell

How they Got Here:

East Coweta —beat Colquitt County 6-0 at home; beat Hillgrove 1-0 at home.

Centennial —beat Archer 5-2 at home; beat Milton 2-1 at home.

Previous Meetings in 2014: East Coweta won 3-1 on March 28 in Roswell.





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