Sparks were flying Friday night on the soccer pitch as the Alcovy Lady Tigers took on rival Newton in Region 2-AAAAAA action.
With the Lady Tigers leading 3-0 with 12 minutes gone in the second half, Alcovy’s offensive unit thought it put another goal on the scoreboard. Instead, the goal was waived off and Newton’s Topanga Bailey recovered the ball and drove up field, slicing through a confused Lady Tigers’ defense.
As Newton readied for a shot on goal, the Lady Tigers’ McKenzie Rowland knocked Bailey down to the ground, resulting in a red card and a penalty kick for the Lady Rams.
After the play, Rowland struck Bailey and Bailey retaliated, leading to both players receiving ejections after the dust settled.
Newton responded to losing Bailey in thrilling fashion, scoring a pair of goals over the next three minutes after the scuffle, but the short burst of adrenaline ran out, as Alcovy held on for a 4-3 rivalry win.
Alex Jordan netted three goals for the Lady Tigers while assisting on another and Alcovy head coach Anna Hebert said the Lady Tigers were fortunate to regain their composure after Newton’s quick run.
“The energy in the first half was good and unfortunately, I think the energy took control in the second half,” Hebert said. “Clearly (it) was an emotional game. (Our momentum) deteriorated for us, for a little bit of time, but it just shows you that even when you think you’re solidly ahead, a momentum shift can do a lot.”
Down by three goals with 25 minutes remaining, Newton found its first bit of momentum after the pair of ejections. Lacey Brackett connected on the Lady Rams’ first score from 20 yards out, shooting an unimpeded shot through Alcovy’s defense that bounced by keeper Victoria Marchant.
A minute later Brackett sent a free kick after an Alcovy foul through the Lady Tigers’ defense, bouncing between teammates Precious Buddington and Alexandria Lewis. The ball bounced off Buddington and Lewis used once touch to gather and score, slicing what appeared to be an insurmountable Alcovy lead to just a goal with 25 minutes remaining.
Unfortunately for the Lady Rams, Alcovy gathered its composure. With 10 minutes to go in the period, Jordan scored her third goal of the contest pushing the Lady Tigers’ lead back to a pair of scores.
Newton wasn’t done, however, as Brackett scored again with 1:55 to go. Brackett streaked down the left sideline and fired a shot near the top of the penalty box, drawing the Lady Rams back within a single goal.
Alcovy’s defense held strong, keeping Newton from scoring again in the final minute, securing the 4-3 win.
Jordan assisted on the Lady Tigers’ opening goal with 18:44 left on the clock in the first half, finding teammate Destiny Hardy for the score. Hardy and Jordan broke free from the Lady Rams’ defense with a wall pass just near midfield and after receiving the ball from Jordan, Hardy fired off a shot that bounced off Newton’s Cheyenne Walsingham in goal, finding its way into the right corner of the net.
Alcovy’s second goal came off the foot of Jordan with 39 seconds left in the period, also bouncing a shot off Walsingham that fortuitously found its way past the keeper. Jordan's goal gave Alcovy a 2-0 before the senior scored again four minutes into the second period from the right sideline.
In The Covington News’ original story posted Friday night, details of the altercation between Bailey and Rowland were misinterpreted. The official GHSA report of the incident stated that Rowland received the red card for her illegal takedown of Bailey, while Bailey was ejected for retailing against Rowland after the initial altercation began.
Tigers come out on top
In the night cap, the Alcovy boys soccer team used an early second-half goal to top rival Newton, defeating the Rams 2-1.
Both teams headed into halftime tied 1-1, but Jared Adair netted the go-ahead goal seven minutes into the second period, giving Alcovy a 2-1 lead. Adair and the Tigers rebounded from a lackluster performance in the first half with an offensive onslaught in the final 40 minutes, putting seven shots on goal in the half.
“We only had two shots in the first half,” Alcovy coach Chris Edgar said. “We knew they were fast – they’re real fast – we’re not. We had to play to our strengths and possession is the way to do it. Fortunately, we didn’t quit. There have been times in the past where we get down a goal and we might pack it in. I’ve got a lot of respect for Newton; they played hard…my guys, as well, responded tonight.”
With the score even after the break, Adair wasted little time making his mark in the rivalry, needed less than 10 minutes to secure the game-clinching goal. Alcovy’s Houston Kent started the Tigers’ run down the right sideline and Adair just stayed onside before Kent sent him a pass to the middle of the field. Adair slipped behind the defense and used one touch, pushing the ball past the Newton keeper.
Newton couldn’t find its same offensive rhythm in the second half as it had in the first, putting just four shots on goal in the period, but Alcovy still had to hold off a late Rams’ charge. With 30 seconds to go in the game, Newton took a throw in near the Tigers’ goal, launching the ball deep into the penalty box. The pass found of the head of Harrison Stamps for a scoring opportunity, but the ball flew past the top of the goal, ending Newton’s final threat.
The Rams struck first in the first half 20 minutes into the game on a Ousmane Dogo score, but Alcovy’s Jordan Adair tied the game three minutes later on a penalty kick, evening the game before halftime.
Alcovy returns to action Monday at Sharp Stadium against Newnan beginning at 5:30, while the Rams have a week off before facing Rockdale County on the road Friday.