WHEN a new strategy simply wasn’t working in the first half, Jefferson relied on what it knew would work in the second half.
No. 6 Jefferson (12-2) struck for three goals in the first 16 minutes following halftime to beat its crosstown rival and lockup a no. 3 seed for the state tournament.
The Lady Dragons will face the no. 2 seed out of Region 7-AA in their first-ever trip to state.
Coach Todd Parker experimented with a new strategy — playing a 3-5-2 setup — but decided to scrap it after a scoreless tie at the half.
“Of course it didn’t work, and we went back to our old formation and it just clicked,” Parker said.
Stephanie Lamm broke the tie with a strike from about 30 yards out from the right side in the 43rd minute. Carolyn Carreno scored 11 minutes later off a corner kick from the left side in the 54th minute. Hannah Pasko then capped the scoring with a goal in the 56th minute as Jefferson pulled away for its second win this season against Jackson County (12-6).
Parker said he simply wanted to show the Lady Panthers a different look in the first half.
“I like to try the new stuff, and that’s what (our) players always get mad at,” Parker said. “I always switch the players around. I want them to learn. I want them to know that we can play any position possible.”
Jefferson had the advantage of having three days rest, while Jackson County played the night before, losing 3-0 to Dawson County.
The Lady Dragons faced the same situation this past Friday when they lost 2-1 to North Oconee in the region semifinals a day after beating East Hall 5-0 in the opening round of the region tournament.
Camila Hernandez provided Jefferson’s only goal. Parker said that Friday’s game didn’t pan out like he’d expected.
“Our ladies just did not look like they normally do, being first to the ball and our speed was not there,” he said.
Parker added that North Oconee was plenty motivated.
“North Oconee was there to take their revenge and we were just not all there, still maybe a little tired from the night before,” Parker said. “We had the opportunities to score, with corner kicks and great passing in the middle of their goal.”
But, thanks to Jefferson’s win over Jackson County, it can avoid playing the no. 1 seed out of Region 7-AA in the first round of the state playoffs.
This has been a historic season so far for a relatively new Lady Dragon program.
These seniors are the first group to play all the way through the Jefferson program, starting in sixth grade. And the result is a trip to state. “We really wish that we could have won Friday so we could have hosted a (state playoff) game,” Parker said. “That was a big setback. But since that, they’re over it. We’re ready to move on. The seniors are all excited and that’s all that counts.”