All that they needed was some incentive.
The Lady Cougars had no problem finding that on Friday night. Lafayette Christian promptly fell behind 1-0 against Arlington Christian in the first 12 minutes of the West Region soccer match at the Cougars field.
Arlington Christian had the early mojo after forward Kimberly Conner scored from 18 yards out. But the Lady Eagles from Fairburn (just outside of Atlanta) let the momentum and the lead slip away after that.
Lafayette Christian scored the rest of the goals in the game and defeated the Lady Eagles, 5-1 in the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association. Lafayette Christian would finish the first half with back-to-back goals.
The Lady Cougars would score three more times in the second half. So Lafayette Christian won a game when it could have folded. But didn’t.
“We turned it around, and we got aggressive. We were overconfident to begin with, but we win when necessary,” said Lady Cougars head coach Shannon Powell.
Underneath some early whiffs and shoddy defense, Lafayette Christian eventually found itself. The Lady Cougar passes got crisper. The defense got tougher and bloodier. Not dirty, but aggressive.
Lafayette Christian had a chip on its shoulder and fire in its eyes. The Lady Cougars made some tackles and played some hair-raising, hamstring-busting defense against Arlington Christian with Chelsea Bragg, Chelsea Cochran and Bailey Andrews.
By the way, two Chelseas is always better than one.
“We knew who to mark (up), and we shut down their offensive game (after the first goal of the match),” said Powell.
The Lady Cougars found their incentive and their touch. They would score five unanswered goals to close out the soccer match. But before Lafayette Christian could win it the Lady Cougars had to tie it.
They did that with a twoyard tap in from sophomore forward Cate Skipworth in the middle of the first half. With the match deadlocked at 1-1, Lafayette Christian got another golden scoring chance on Olivia Tompa’s 20-yard shot.
But the ball was snagged out of the air by Lady Eagle goaltender Lauren Benson, a junior. The Lafayette Christian girls did take the lead late in the first half on a 15-yard goal from Devon Taylor.
The Lady Cougars now had their first lead in the region match at 2-1.
“We got motivated, and we took more shots. We got real positive,” said Taylor.
Despite that, Lafayette Christian still just had a one-goal lead going to halftime. The match was still in doubt. But the Lady Cougars took care of that with a three-goal second half.
Lafayette Christian put the game on ice with goals from Taylor, Tompa and Skipworth. The final goal from Skipworth was in the 10-yard range.
The Lady Cougar comeback was complete.
“We got determined. We worked better as a team (in the second half). We were pushing and going harder,” said Skipworth.
Lafayette Christian pushed itself all the way to 3-4-1 overall and 1-1 in the region. Arlington Christian is now 1-6 on the season. The Lady Eagles, still looking for some region satisfaction, are 0-2 in league play.
“We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores. We’re still maturing. We need to grow up, but Lafayette has a great squad. They knew where our weakness was,” said Arlington Christian head coach Rico Hill.
The Lady Cougars from Lafayette Christian were kicking it most of the evening. They got off 21 shots-on-goal. Lady Cougar goalkeeper Yuna Jeong picked up some grass stains, too, with six saves.
Jeong is an LCS junior.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer