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Lady Soccer Doggs prep for region in shutout win

POSTED: February 26, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Adam Wynn/Barrow County News

Winder-Barrow's Claudia Hoff recovers the short punt by East Jackson and scores the Lady Soccer Doggs' first goal of the game Tuesday night, dribbling against Anneka Cozzens.

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For the first time since early November, sports returned to W. Clair Harris Stadium at Winder-Barrow High School. This time, though, the sport was soccer.

The Winder-Barrow High School Lady Soccer Doggs took it to East Jackson Tuesday night in their home opener, beating the Eagles 3-0 at home.

The Lady Doggs got an early break when East Jackson’s goalkeeper accidentally sent a ball she was trying to clear into the back of one of her own players near the goal. Winder-Barrow’s Claudia Hoff quickly jumped on the ball and squeezed past the Eagle defender for the Lady Soccer Doggs’ first goal of the game in just the third minute.

Winder’s offensive pressure and midfield defense in their 4-4-3 formation kept the ball away from the Soccer Doggs’ own goal for most of the game, especially in the first half. Of the 40 minutes in the first half, East Jackson held possession on the attacking side for no more than 10 minutes, and even then they were able to get off very few legitimate shots.

"We were putting a lot of pressure on them and we were missing left and right, and I think that the keeper just got flustered a little bit," Winder-Barrow varsity women’s soccer coach Ben Arms explained. "When she punted it out, she short punted it and we were able to put it back in before their own team even recognized that she short punted it.

"That put us on offense where we needed to be as far as keeping the ball on their side and getting to press."

Already down 1-0, East Jackson quickly decided to focus on defense.

"What they actually did was after that first goal they moved everybody back and just had three attackers and…just bunkered in to keep anymore goals from being scored," Arms added.

It appeared that Hoff had her second goal of the night with just 20 minutes later, but officials waved off the score because East Jackson’s goalkeeper, Jenniland Garcia, actually had possession of the ball before it was knocked out of her hands and into the back of the net.

For the time being, the score would remain 1-0.

Garcia took a lot of contact on the play and needed a moment’s breather before getting back up and into the game for East Jackson, but she would continue on for the rest of the evening.

Senior captain Ashley Hagenbaugh would finally net Winder-Barrow’s second goal in 37’ from the right side and near midfield, with Haley Morgan getting the assist.

The Lady Doggs would threaten again in the first half with a couple of missed shots, but East Jackson defended well and made sure to put the ball out of bounds before Winder-Barrow could do any more damage.

Winder-Barrow’s Alexa Delarosa played an outstanding game at goalkeeper, preserving the shutout and making important saves up until she was traded out in the final 12 minutes of the game to get a different goalie some game experience.

One remarkable save from Delarosa nearly turned tragic as she bobbled a ball over her head in 46’, but Delarosa held on tight and put the ball back out into the field for her team to push against East Jackson.

Hagenbaugh, who had already scored one goal for the Soccer Doggs, pursued the opposing net with a Lady Eagle right at her heels near 58’ when she was tripped up at the scoring box. Hagenbaugh received a penalty kick opportunity and capitalized to give Winder-Barrow their third and final goal of the game.

The Lady Doggs would keep pressing the East Jackson net, though, and nearly had a goal at 53’, but it bounced high of the goal and actually off of the field goal post used for football.

The dominant win was a welcome sight to the Lady Soccer Doggs, who took a few lumps the week before in a Hall County tournament. Winder’s women lost their first match of the tournament to West Hall 4-2 after taking a 2-1 lead shortly after the half.

They fared less well in the following two games, though, losing their game to White County in a 4-0 shutout and their final game to North Hall in a 3-0 shutout.

The offense was back in full force Tuesday, though, and not a moment too soon.

Winder-Barrow enjoyed Tuesday’s non-region contest, but they travel to Salem on Friday for the region opener, and region is a whole other animal.

"We’re still moving people around and this was one of the games where we’re trying to treat it more like a region game," Arms pointed out regarding East Jackson. "We want to focus on how we’re going to play when we play Friday."

The Soccer Dogg women struggled to find places for some of their athletes with having to replace five starters from last year’s graduating class, but Arms was confident that Tuesday’s match helped to relieve some of the confusion leading up to Friday’s ever-important region opener.

"I think some of the girls are going to be surprised Friday by their playing time," Arms noted. "We’re going to be working with some of those to make sure we’re ready for region play.

"We’re excited to finally be playing the region. They’re all working hard in practice," Arms added.

"Regardless of whether they’re playing five minutes or 80 minutes, they’re all working really hard to improve their game."



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