COVINGTON — The season abruptly ended for the Newton boys and the Alcovy girls soccer squads as both teams were shutout in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs on Wednesday.
The Lady Tigers lost to Kennesaw Mountain 8-0 with the Rams being on the wrong side of the 3-0 decision against Harrison.
Newton started the game strong and surprised the Hoyas with their strength and speed. The Rams were able to keep pace with the host team until a defensive breakdown with 24 minutes left in the first half resulted in a Harrison goal making it 1-0.
The Rams were able to put that mistake behind them until the keeper was caught out of the box allowing Harrison to take advantage of the situation taking a 2-0 lead into halftime.
“At halftime we told the team that we had given those goals up and that they were not earned,” Newton head coach Lavon White said. “We reminded the team that Harrison was ranked No. 1 (region) for a reason. They take advantage of any mistake and we are still in this game.”
Even though Harrison scored their final goal 10 minutes into the second half, White was not disappointed.
“I must admit that it was earned. This is when our true character showed up. Lead by our seniors, we did not give up and we continued to play until the very end even when we subbed in the younger guys,” White said.
“I must say, with this being my last game coaching this group of young men, I was very proud of how the team represented Newton High and the soccer program this year. I just really wanted to have the program get some respect within the community. I hope we did that. I know that nobody expected us to do much at the start of the year. I do know that Harrison had to work for that first round win.”
In the girls game, the Lady Mustangs jumped out to an early 5-0 halftime lead and never felt threatened.
“The girls got down early. The first goal was a pretty finish off a corner kick. Then we gave up a penalty kick for the second goal. Then very quickly we were down 3-0,” Alcovy head coach Anna Hebert said. “It was 5-0 at halftime and I asked them if they wanted to play 80 full minutes of soccer? I told them not to let them take that from them if they wanted to finish the whole game.”
The Alcovy girls responded to Hebert by picking up their game by only allowing three goals in the second half.
“They did a lot better the second half. They were tired and we’ve had some injuries. We had a starter get hurt in the first half then come back in,” Hebert said. “Our third goalie of the year, Katie Barton, got a really deep tissue bruise last week and that was a determining factor. With her arm hurting, she probably wasn’t willing to lay out for a couple of those.”
The Lady Tigers had a couple of offensive threats by Sage Fuller and Alex Jordan but their shots went directly to the Lady Mustangs keeper.
Even though the Lady Tigers lost their final game of the season without scoring a goal, Hebert felt the season was not a total letdown.
“We had a couple losses that I thought the girls were capable of winning so that was a little frustrating. We had more injuries than I was expecting like having the starting keeper out for half the season because of a concussion. I was proud of the girls that started in new positions,” Hebert said. “They worked really hard to adapt from a field player to go into the goal. We crossed over with a tough region. If we had crossed over with someone like we played last year we’d still be playing.”