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Soccer stars show up in offseason

POSTED: June 18, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Photo Courtesy Scott Bates/

Apalachee's Lady Soccer Cats won this past weekend's Oconee Cup 7-on-7 tournament, bringing home the offseason tournament title for the second straight year. The Lady Cats pose here with their medals after defeating region opponent Flowery Branch for the title.

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While both Winder-Barrow and Apalachee’s women’s soccer teams finished the regular season without realizing their goal of capturing a spot in the state playoffs, the Lady Cats and the Lady Doggs took a second shot at glory with their weekend participation in the Oconee 7v7 Soccer Cup tournament, with Apalachee bringing home the title of champions.

“Although we have a greater value for regular season success, it’s nice anytime you win a championship in anything,” Apalachee head women’s soccer coach Scott Bates said after Saturday’s victory.

Oconee County High School hosts the tournament each summer and gives local teams a variety of competition to keep training throughout the offseason. Likewise, since it is a summer league and many teams do not yet feature full rosters, teams compete on a smaller field and with fewer players at a time. 

Similar to World Cup soccer going on right now in Brazil, the tournament starts with pool play before proceeding to a linear single-elimination tournament. 

The Lady Wildcats played in a pool featuring Region 8-AAAAA opponents Flowery Branch and Winder-Barrow, along with non-region Adairsville, and flew through with a 2-0-1 record to capture first place in the group.

Apalachee’s first game was a 0-0 tie against Flowery Branch, but they regrouped in wins over rival Winder-Barrow and northwest Georgia’s Adairsville. The Lady Cats trounced their rival 5-1 after a 2-1 victory over Adairsville.

Coach Bates’ crew actually owes the Lady Doggs a debt of gratitude as Winder-Barrow’s 2-2 tie with Flowery Branch later on in group play actually helped push Apalachee ahead of the pack en route to the number one seed heading into the semifinals. 

Coach Ben Arms’ Lady Bulldoggs, featuring five varsity starters and seven JV players, had a 2-0 lead over the Lady Falcons, but they were unable to preserve it and had to settle for the tie. They would go on to lose to Adairsville, as well, by a score of 3-1.

“Coaches use this [tournament] as a tool to asses upcoming players. I let the girls know ahead of time that the score wasn’t important,” Ben Arms, head coach of the varsity Lady Bulldoggs’ soccer team, stated. “We just wanted them to play together and have fun at the tournament.”

As the top-seed in their group, Apalachee had the pleasure of facing host Oconee County in the semifinals in a match that took a little longer than planned to sort out as the Lady Wildcats needed overtime to douse the Lady Warriors’ flame with a 1-0 shutout.  

With one tie and one overtime win already under their belt, the Lady Wildcats needed one more extended game to capture the Oconee Cup championship in the women’s varsity league for the second year in a row, this time taking the action as far as it would go. 

The championship came down to a rematch between the Falcons of Flowery Branch and Apalachee, with the Lady Wildcats claiming victory in penalty kicks. With the score knotted up 1-1 in regulation, the region foes took to extra time hoping to crown a champion that way, but to no avail. On PKs, though, the Lady Cats finally pulled away with a 3-2 advantage securing the game and the tournament for Apalachee’s women.

Most of the 2014 Lady Cats returned for the summer tournament, with Apalachee’s team featuring Alissa Wheeler, Taylor Gilmore, Payton Tullis, Brooke Stephens, Kaylie Herbert, Tori Robertson, Kerrigan Ellington, Shelby Everett, Bailey Powers, Alayna Stephens and Emily Brooks.

The Lady Bulldoggs may not have pulled off the team win Saturday at Oconee High School, but a few individual Lady Doggs have earned themselves special honors and victories in their own rite. 

For starters, Andrews College signee Ashley Hagenbaugh had a spectacular weekend as she played in goal for Team Georgia at the Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Soccer Classic in Chattanooga on June 13. Georgia’s best won for just the second time in series history with a 2-1 victory over the Volunteer State. Georgia’s last win was 4-3 victory in 2008. After nine years of competition, Tennessee leads Georgia’s women 6-2-1.

Hagenbaugh was an anchor of the Peach State defense as she recorded three saves and held Tennessee’s best to just one goal. Georgia outshot Tennessee 9-5, with Tennessee’s lone goal coming with 10 minutes to go as Georgia already held a 2-0 lead. 

On the same day, Hagenbaugh was named to the Athens-Banner Herald All-Area soccer team, adding to her accolades as a first team All-Region player for Region 8-AAAAA.

Hagenbaugh was joined by her former teammates at Winder-Barrow Paige Howard, Christin Baxter and Sydney Freeman as honorable mentions. 

Four Lady Wildcats made the list, as well, with Kate Winegarner, Alyssa Kauffman, Lindsey Davis and Tullis all being named honorable mentions.



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