By R. Alan Richardson
Morgan’s Lady Dogs are battling for home field advantage in the Georgia High School Association’s (GHSA) State Soccer Tournament. After ripping through Franklin County 10-0 on Tuesday the girls took it on the chin 8-1 against Jackson County later in the week. Coach Anne Stamps had high praise for Jackson County’s team saying, “They are a very strong team this year that has gotten better every year. At this point we are working hard to finish second and host the first round of the state playoffs here on our field.”
In the Franklin contest it was Cat Usry and Annie Aikins that carried the offensive load scoring three goals each. Allie Randall added two more while Brooke Morrison and Frances Smith each added one to the total in a game that ended with more than 10 minutes remaining due to the mercy rule. Keepers Ansley Dean and Mady Dorsey split halves with Dean getting the start and Dorsey mopping things up in the second period. “We played solid defense and controlled the ball the entire game,” said Stamps. The only goal scored by Morgan in the Jackson County game came off the foot of Aikins.
The Lady Dogs are now sitting in second place with a 6-3 record and only one game remaining on their 8-AAA schedule. This game will be huge for the girls. A win guarantees that they will hold onto their second place ranking while a loss would upset the apple cart and possibly move the team into third. Some of the scenarios involve how other teams finish out their seasons, but Morgan has their destiny in their own hands. Morgan won the first meeting between the two teams handily, but this is the only one that counts now.
Morgan will not play East Jackson until April 11 with many teams on Spring Break this week. When asked how she felt about the “bye” week with no games, Stamps answered, “I kind of like it. It will give us a week to focus on team chemistry and finishing strong. Don’t get me wrong. We don’t have any chemistry issues with this group, but the time off will allow us to do some things as a group that we don’t usually have time for during the season.” The playoffs start April 24 and that time will also give us time to rejuvenate before the post-season.