That is a long bus ride, almost two hours Lady Bulldogs Head Coach Sam Noland said. But I have a good group of girls who developed very well this season and have good team chemistry.
The Lady Bulldogs started the game with only 14 players, just three substitutes, due to various conflicts.
We knew going in we were going to be faced with conserving energy, Noland said.
Cedartown gave up a goal 90 seconds into the match, but played well the remainder of the opening half and trailed only 2-0 at intermission.
With Sandy Creek being a school nearly twice our size, we felt pretty good (at halftime), Noland said. But in the second half, our energy level dropped and we gave up a few pointless goals at the end.
Cedartown lost by the final score of 7-0, however Noland wasnt disappointed in his team.
We lost to the same team last year 11-0, so all in all we still feel good afterwards, Noland said.
In the boys contest, the Bulldogs matched Sandy Creeks physical play throughout the contest and was able to pick up a big Region 6-AAA win.
Both teams played very hard and physical, Bulldogs Head Coach John Sheffield said. We gave as much as we took. We played 80 minutes of soccer and defeated a very talented team. Im proud of our guys.
Sheffield noted that the Bulldogs teamwork was the difference in the game.
I believe our passing, communication and possession of the ball was the difference, Sheffield said. We were unselfish and it showed.
Benito Aviles beat two Sandy Creek defenders down the left side of the field and played a pass to Armando Barrientos who beat the goal keeper to make it 1-0 Cedartown just 15 minutes into the game.
It was nice to watch the teamwork and communication on that goal, Sheffield said.
Cedartowns next goal came on a counter attack when a long ball was played to Ricardo Cortes who broke free of his man and passed to Omar Campos who scored.
With the score at 2-0 at halftime, the Bulldogs were tested by Sandy Creek in the second half.
They were testing our defense, Sheffield said. Rury Torres played a great game in goal, he had at least 10 saves. He came off his line all night and commanded the ball on the ground and in the air.
Sandy Creek scored on a penalty kick in the second half to cut it to 2-1, but Cedartown responded when Ricky Navarro was tripped in the box to give Cedartown a penalty kick. Barrientos blasted the ball into the net on the penalty kick to make it 3-1.
This was our best game and these kids deserve all the credit, Sheffeild said. It is a pleasure to coach this group. They work hard in practice and they play even harder in the game.
Sheffield also noted the play of several defensive players.
Irvin Bahena was our leader in the back, Sheffield said. He is not vocal but he leads by example. He always stays composed and delivered the ball to midfield beautifully. Our marking backs also played at a high level. They were frustrating Sandy Creeks offense by marking so tight. Ollie Perry, Jorge Jacobo, Gustavo Escutia and Edmundo Hernandez were the defense.
Both of the Cedartown soccer teams are off until Monday, April 14 when they host Ridgeland for a non-region game to end the regular season.
The Lady Bulldogs (2-14 overall, 0-6 Region 6-AAA) will play at 5:30 p.m. and the Bulldogs (7-7, 2-4) will play at 7:30 p.m. at Doc Ayers Field.