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SOCCER NOTEBOOK: Looking beyond wins and losses

Photo by Brian Paglia
Lovejoy senior Cheyna Williams scored three goals Tuesday against Northgate, but the Lady Wildcats lost 4-3. They can still clinch a region championship win against Riverdale on Thursday.

Photo by Brian Paglia Lovejoy senior Cheyna Williams scored three goals Tuesday against Northgate, but the Lady Wildcats lost 4-3. They can still clinch a region championship win against Riverdale on Thursday.

Something’s going on with these soccer teams. Call it an identity crisis — they look like one team from afar, but a different one altogether upon closer examination.

When taken by their overall record, several teams in Clayton and Henry counties don’t stand out. They hover just below or above .500, ostensibly an average team.

But their region record paints a different picture, one of a team that’s competitive with lots of meaningful soccer left to play.

Here’s a look at those teams with deceitful overall records. All records as of Monday:

Eagle’s Landing boys

Overall record: 5-8

Region 4-AAA: 4-3

Note: The Golden Eagles aren’t used to finding themselves in this position. They’re more accustomed to contending for a region championship. But they find themselves fighting for a playoff spot and needing some help. Eagle’s Landing is fifth in the region, just behind Drew, who is 3-2. The Golden Eagles only have one region game left, and it’s a tough one — at second-place Sandy Creek on April 20. Win that, and Eagle’s Landing could throw the region standings into chaos.

Jonesboro boys

Overall record: 4-5

Region 4-AAAA: 4-2

Note: The Cardinals are right on the edge of the state tournament. With Forest Park and Tri-Cities looking like locks coming out of Region 4-AAAA, Jonesboro is fighting with Lovejoy, Mundy’s Mill, North Clayton and Riverdale for the final two spots. The Cardinals have already beaten Lovejoy, 2-1, and have tough losses to Drew (1-0) and Mundy’s Mill (4-3).

Lovejoy boys

Overall record: 4-5

Region 4-AAAA: 4-2

Note: The Wildcats are right there with Jonesboro, hanging on to make the final stretch of the regular season interesting in Region 4-AAAA. They have tough losses against Jonesboro (2-1) and Sandy Creek (3-1), and a good win against Mundy’s Mill (4-1). But the Wildcats are looking to get the big one — an April 17 match against Forest Park, who the Wildcats defeated last season for the region title.

Luella boys

Overall record: 6-5

Region 2-AAAAA: 5-1

Note: The Lions are used to being state tournament regulars, and they’ll be back this season. As what seed is still to be determined. East Coweta appears to have the region title and No. 1 seed locked up, which left the Lions and Newnan facing off late Tuesday night for second place and the other first round home playoff game.

Luella girls

Overall record: 5-7

Region 2-AAAAA: 5-1

Note: Much like the boys program, the Lady Lions are no strangers to the state playoffs. And, just like the boys team, the Lady Lions were playing Newnan early Tuesday evening for second place in the region. Luella has taken its lumps against competition outside of the region, going 0-6, but they’ve faced a gauntlet of top teams who are a combined 51-9-3.

Looking to clinch

Lovejoy girl’s soccer team can clinch its second straight Region 4-AAAA championship Thursday with a win against Riverdale, though it will require the Lady Wildcats (8-1-0, 6-0-0 Region 4-AAAA) to make a quick rebound from their 4-3 loss against Northgate on Tuesday.

But, despite the wrenching loss — Lovejoy led 3-1 with 20 minutes left in the game — coach Rory Welsh isn’t worried about his players’ approach going into Thursday’s match.

“I’m thinking they’ll respond really well,” Welsh said. “The girls were really positive after the [Northgate] game. I think this loss put things in perspective. It was a well-played game.”

Wait and see

Though Locust Grove girl’s soccer team ended Region 4-AAA play with a resounding 10-0 win against Drew on Tuesday, it did little to settle their state playoff future.

Locust Grove (9-3-0, 5-3-0 Region 4-AAA) still has to wait while Eastside, Jackson and Spalding play out the remainder of their region games. The Lady Wildcats currently sit in third place and in position to make their first state tournament appearance in school history.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” Locust Grove coach Kelly Barrow said. “We won’t be able to figure it out for two weeks. I don’t want to get my hopes up, because anything can happen.”