Prep Girls Lacrosse
Newnan overtakes Northgate in final minutes to win Coweta Cup
by Chris Goltermann
Slow and steady wins the race. Even in high school lacrosse.
Despite trailing for all but five minutes of the final game of the Coweta Cup against Northgate, Newnan’s girls never let a talented Lady Viking lineup get far enough ahead before catching them at the finish line in a 10-9 victory to earn this year’s county crown and the inaugural trophy to go with it amidst Friday’s drizzles at Henry Seldon Field.
It was the second straight year that Newnan needed to rally past Northgate to retain bragging rights in girls lacrosse. Following two lopsided games to open the tournament, the Lady Cougars and Lady Vikings provided a thrilling finale that was nip-and-tuck from the opening faceoff.
Unlike Newnan’s huge comeback last spring over Northgate at Drake Stadium, an up-and-coming roster with several new faces in scoring roles found a way to stay close before connecting for a pair of goals over a span of two minutes to overtake the Lady Vikings.
“They’re as strong a team as we’ve faced all season,” said Newnan coach Robert Skinner, who got several extra long hugs while congratulating players from Northgate, where he’s been a longtime teacher.
Under Skinner and coach Chris Lanyi, Newnan’s girls program has gone undefeated against county rivals East Coweta and Northgate despite another close call on Friday.
To their credit, the Lady Vikings held the lead the entire first half before breaking a pair of ties over the final 25 minutes and denying Newnan a chance to gain control until the final 4:14 on Sydney Garmany’s eventual game-winner.
The Lady Cougars then managed to play keep away for the majority of the final two minutes with Northgate’s talented midfield of Kayla Bedwell, Allie Brock and Hunter Hasty unable to make a legitimate rush toward the Newnan goal before time ran out.
Garmany’s ground-ball scoop with less than 1:30 to play allowed the team to keep possession on Northgate’s side of the field long enough to prevent a major rush toward the Lady Cougars’ zone.
Earlier, Bedwell’s four goals in the first half continuously put Northgate ahead by two goals, forcing the Lady Cougars to rally back time and again.
The second-half, however, turned into a chessmatch in a battle of both defenses.
After combining for 13 goals, teams struggled to get anything behind both Northgate senior Katie Hester and Newnan goalie Lindsay Stewart in the second half, managing just six combined tallies over the last 25 minutes of play.
Bedwell’s four goals before halftime allowed Northgate to take a 7-6 into the break. But the Lady Cougars defense shut her down in the second half while allowing only two goals.
Each time Bedwell scored, the Pfeiffer College lacrosse signee managed to push a two-goal advantage — equaling Northgate’s largest lead of the game.
Bedwell put the Lady Vikings ahead by two at the 8:01 mark of the first half, scoring off the faceoff after Newnan’s Gaby Busby converted on rebound to pull her team within a 5-4 deficit.
After Sable Hawkins again pulled the Lady Cougars within one, Bedwell was camped alone in front of an open net to take a pass from a teammate after Stewart was stripped of the ball from behind the goal.
Hawkins finished with a team-high four goals for Newnan, her latter pair forcing ties in the second half.
Despite getting a huge save from Hester on a free-position shot from Garmany, Newnan tied the game for the first time to open the second half on Hawkins’ third goal. Northgate’s Hunter Hasty then rang a shot off the crossbar with 14:49 to play in an 7-7 deadlock.
Lady Cougar Kristan Overton tied it again for Newnan off a free-position play with 9:29 remaining before Northgate took its final lead on a pass from Hasty to Ashley Passantino at the 7:49 mark.
Hawkins again tied it, however, firing a long shot past Hester with 6:24 to play to make it 9-9.