High School Soccer
Lady Indians rally in final five to reach Final Four
by Doug Gorman
ROSWELL—East Coweta girls’ head coach soccer Chris Luppens always challenges his team to play hard until the end.
Saturday night in the Class AAAAAA Elite 8, the Lady Indians must have been listening.
Down 3-2 with under five minutes left in the game, East Coweta struck twice and rallied for a 4-3 victory over Centennial to advance to the Final Four on Wednesday against No 1 state-ranked Grayson.
The Lady Indians pulled a potential victory from under the Lady Knights’ feet with 27 seconds left when the ball trickled over to Lynnsey Danford in the box and she blasted it into the back of the net for the game winner.
East Coweta trailed 2-0 at the end of the first half, but Danford’s game-winner capped a four-goal explosion for the Lady Indians, with all scores coming in the final 22 minutes.
The Lady Indians improved their record to 15-5-1, while the Lady Knights ended their season with a 10-9 record
“These girls have hearts of gold,” Luppens said. “I don’t scream at my kids, I love my
kids, but I told them at halftime if they don’t start playing better, their season is going to end.”
After Serenity Waters and Morgan Haase tied the game at 2-2 midway through the second half, East Coweta nearly saw its season end when Lady Knight Alyssa Beck was pulled down in the box and converted a penalty shot with just over five minutes left to give Centennial a 3-2 lead.
However, less than two minutes later, East Coweta tied the game again when Ashton Rohrschneider broke free in the box and scored the equalizer.
“I really have to hand it to the underclassmen. They stepped it up,” Lady Indians senior defender Katie Sutherland said. “We were challenged at halftime not to let it end this way, and they did a great job.”
Centennial’s defense might have been playing for overtime when things broke down and Danford found a way to grab control of the ball and beat goaltender Grace Broach for the game winner.
East Coweta senior Anna Lauzon wasn’t ready for her high school soccer career to end.
“First of all, we are family,” she said. “We broke down (in tears) when they hit that PK, because we thought it might be it. We play for each other. We didn’t let 2-0 get us down. We just kept fighting.”
East Coweta also beat Centennial 3-1 on the road in a game on March 28, but a victory more than a month-and-a-half later was far more dramatic.
The Lady Knights got two first-half goals from Josie Watson, including one less than three
minutes into the game to seize the momentum and were determined early to end East Coweta’s season.
“Our mentality has always been to never stop and keep playing the same no matter the score,” Brandley said. “Even if it is 9-0 we have to keep trying to score.”
The Lady Indians may need that mentality in the semifinals while now preparing for a 20-0-1 Grayson team that dominated Kennesaw Mountain 6-1 at home in its state quarterfinal victory.
The Lady Rams have scored 127 goals in 21 games, while now averaging just over six goals a game.
East Coweta doesn’t care who they play next, they are just glad to be two victories away
from bringing home the school’s first soccer title.
“It is going to come down to who wants it more,” Serenity Waters said. “Some of these other teams may have better stats than us, but we are going to come out and play hard. We are not going to give up until that last second.”
Lady Indians 4, Lady Knights 3
East Coweta 0 4 - 4
Centennial 2 1 - 3
Goals -East Coweta - Serenity Waters, Morgan Haase, Ashton Rohrschneider, Lynnsey
Danford. Centennial - Josie Watson 2
Goalkeepers East Coweta - Kelsey Weaver; Centennial-Grace Broach