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May 5, 2014

Lady Devils shut out Newnan, 4-0

TIFTON — The wait was worth it for the Tift County Lady Devils Monday evening. Rains had delayed their soccer game against the Newnan Lady Cougars from last Wednesday, but with skies clear and the sun burning bright, it was Newnan out in the cold. Tift won, 4-0, in the opening round of the state tournament.

The win gives them the opportunity to face Harrison at Kennesaw Wednesday. Harrison defeated Lovejoy, 10-0, in their first round match.

It was actually a slow start for the usually high powered Lady Devil offense. Newnan controlled the pace early on and even kept it around goal, but the home team held firm.

Ten minutes in, they began to get comfortable. Blakeley Bergeron led two charges down the field into the offensive end. Neither led to a shot but the tide had begun to turn. Sarah Alberson had a shot attempt that was saved, then Abby Kay Choate hit the crossbar 15 minutes in.

Two more opportunities in the span of a minute failed and when Nikki Vellidis went sprinting down the field after a pass, it looked like another one would slip by as the ball looked certain to head out of bounds. Vellidis would catch up with the ball, corral it and sent it towards the middle. She had Bergeron and Choate available. Bergeron could not get to it, but Choate did and kicked it past the keeper at 17:24 for a 1-0 lead.

Newnan had a hard time stopping Tift after that. Choate had two shots go wide with about 10 minutes left. Immediately following the second one, the Lady Cougars had possession in the shadow of their own goal, but failed to kick it away. Choate, who had stayed in the area, took possession for herself and scored an easy goal at 9:28.

Tift had a close call near the end of the first half when Newnan picked off an errant pass near goal, but a shot went wide and the half ended with Tift up 2-0.

Following the break, the offense picked up right where they left off. Bergeron had a shot go off the left post at 35:20, but at 34:09 she made up for it when a long shot from the left side trickled off the goalkeeper's hands and into the net.

Even with the Lady Devils playing a more defensive game with a 3-0 lead, Newnan still had few threats. Bergeron picked up a little more insurance at 27:53, scoring off a long pass and fake on the keeper.

Comfortably ahead, coach Doug Head began substituting and almost had another goal when Taylor MacDonald had a shot saved.

If the Lady Devils upset Harrison, they would play again Saturday, according to the GHSA. That game would also be on the road, either at Walton or Brookwood.

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20140801 Tift volleyball.JPG

The 2014 Tift County Lady Devils volleyball team. Summer Bennett, Chat Butts, Carolina Carter, Kaleigh Hobby, Molly Jones, Savannah Kendrick, Mariena McCullough, Dail Adaway, Vanity Golson, Alex Miller, Taylor Nimmo, Amanda Riddle, Logan Seeman, Taylor Cross, Karina Delgado, Audrey McElhaney, Madison Spivey, Julianna Cross and Olivia Thomas Assistants are Dana Fletcher and Chance Benson. Head coach is Courtney Mitchell.

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