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Sea Turtles Compete in First Tournament of Summer Season

The Sea Turtles summer soccer team, founded by LaGrange Coach Shane Pulliam, competed in their first tournament of the season over the weekend. The tournament took place in Oconee County on Saturday, June 9th.

The Sea Turtles team started practicing for the tournament last week, coming out for Tuesday and Thursday practices. At the time, the team members saw the new summer jerseys first-hand while attempting their own 7×7 game.

Prior to Saturday’s tournament, Coach Pulliam expressed his belief that his team could make it to the semifinals if things worked well. Giving it their all at practice, the Sea Turtles looked poised to strike.

A mix of 9th grade, JV, and Varsity players came out to play in the Varsity division for the Sea Turtles Saturday. The team, competing in the 7×7 division, took on Archer in the first matchup of the tournament.

Though the Sea Turtles didn’t earn their first win, they didn’t lose either, tying 2-2 with Archer to start the tournament with fierce competition.

Play improved in the second game as the Sea Turtles sailed past Hart County 4-1 to earn their first team win. However, a tough game against Habersham Central put a dent in plans, as the Sea Turtles faced their best opponent of the competition.

The first half remained competitive. Trailing 1-0, the Sea Turtles stayed alive in the first half, giving them the opportunity to make a comeback.

It never came. The defense slipped in the second, giving up three goals. The Sea Turtle offense couldn’t get started, and Habersham Central blanked the LaGrange-based team 4-0.

With a win against Habersham Central, the Sea Turtles would have qualified for the tournament’s semifinals. Instead, a series of uncharacteristic missed chances ended the Sea Turtles’ tournament run, giving them a 1-1-1 record in the first competition of the season.

Though the Sea Turtles managed to only break even, the team looks to grow as the summer season progresses. Several Sea Turtles missed Thursday’s practice, so a more regular turnout throughout the summer may help improve the team’s chances of winning.

The roster for the Saturday tournament in Oconee County included: Goal Keeper- Jack DeVane, Butler Evans, and Cason Blackburn; Defense- Winston Herrera, Ander Gay, Hollis Lester, Caleb Kostial, Ben Ivey, and Jacob Roger; Midfielders- Jimmy Cancino, Toni Sosa, and Noah Whipple; Forward-Pearson Knight and Griffin Sanchez.

For now, however, the team will focus on their upcoming 3×3 tournament in Douglasville. 3×3 soccer differs from 7×7 soccer in that only three players are on each team, and goals must be scored on the ground. There is no goal keeper in 3×3 soccer.

3×3 soccer forces players to focus more-heavily on their technique and keeps their minds in the game, as they must stay engaged in order to take advantage of any opportunities. With fewer people to support them—especially when making a mistake— players must be ready to make any necessary plays, keeping their mind’s actively-engaged in the game.

The Sea Turtles meet every Tuesday and Thursday for practice. Summer sessions are split into different age groups, with children under thirteen meeting at 5:30 PM, and teenagers over thirteen meeting at 7:15 PM at the Troup County Soccer Complex. Both teams will be competing in different styles of tournaments throughout the summer season, including: 3×3, 7×7, and 11×11. Coached by LaGrange High Head Coach Shane Pulliam, the summer sessions are open to young athletes throughout the county and offer a way for players to stay in shape and learn throughout the summer.

Coach Pulliam has decades of coaching experience, including several seasons of summer soccer coaching. With national championship wins in 3×3 soccer under his belt, Coach Pulliam is sure to lead the Sea Turtles through a successful schedule this year. The Sea Turtles’ 3×3 soccer tournament in Douglasville will be a good experience for the rising Sea Turtles team.