The East Coweta’s girls soccer team played with a split personality on Tuesday afternoon in the first round of the Class 7-A soccer tournament, but in the end, finished off visiting Colquitt County with an impressive 4-0 victory to advance to the second round.
With the win, East Coweta improved to 13-5-1, while Colquitt County ends its season with a 7-12 record.
The victory sets up a meeting at home next Tuesday against Walton (13-5).
Walton also had a first-round shutout Tuesday night, beating North Paulding 8-0 ,
The Lady Indians looked sluggish at times in the first 40 minutes of the game and only led 1-0 at the break.
However three second-half goals by the Lady Indians punched East Coweta’s ticket to the second round.
Emily Darnell scored twice for the Lady Indians, with Adriana Garcia and Sarah Allen also putting the ball in the back of the net.
The Lady Indians dominated from start to finish and had several chances early to score even though it didn’t show on the scoreboard.
Darnell had two shots in the first four minutes of the game and the Lady Indians had their first corner kick opportunity about 10 minutes into the match.
Ellie Watson set up East Coweta’s second corner kick midway through the first half, but the shot went wide.
Seconds later, the Lady Indians finally connected on the game’s first goal when Darnell beat Colquitt goaltender Julia Warnock.
“We were a little flat early and that was frustrating,” East Coweta head coach Todd Beldon said.
Six possible East Coweta scoring chances were waved off in the first half when the Lady Indians were whistled for being offsides.
Warnock kept her team in the contest, especially early, with six saves in the first half and 11 for the game.
East Coweta continued to apply the offensive pressure in the second half after getting a shot on goal and a free kick in the first two minutes of the second half..
Just over 11 minutes into the second half Darnell struck again for her second goal and put the Lady Indians up 2-0.
Seven minutes later, East Coweta increased the lead to 3-0 when Garcia dribbled around the Lady Packer defense pulling Warnock out of the net for an easy shot.
Even though the Lady Indians’ final goal off the foot of Sarah Allen might have been nothing more than icing on the victory cake, it was cause for celebration.
Allen is usually the back-up goalie for the Lady Indians, but instead of going into guard the net in relief, the senior told Beldon she wanted a chance to score.
That opportunity came with a little more than five minutes left when she put an exclamation point on the victory with her first goal of her career.
“I am so excited for her,” said Beldon. “She said she wanted to score and she did.”
Colquitt County had a couple shots late in the game, but East Coweta goaltender Abigail Chaves turned the attempts away.
The victory against the Lady Packers was East Coweta’s 10th shutout of the year.
Beldon knows it’s going to get harder next week when the Lady Indians face Walton, which was the Region 4-7A runner-up after reaching last year’s quarterfinals and falling to eventual state champion Lambert.
“We have to play with a lot more intensity,” he said.