HOGANSVILLE – It was a marathon day for the LaGrange Lady Grangers.
A seven-on-seven soccer league that has been held at Callaway High this summer wrapped up on Thursday with a one-day tournament.
There were two separate divisions, one for all of the varsity boys’ teams, and one for the varsity girls’ teams as well as the junior-varsity boys’ squads.
It was a busy day for all of the teams, but no one spent more time on the field than the Lady Grangers.
They ended up playing five 40-minute games, meaning they were on the field for more than three hours, and while some of the games were played after the sun went down, others were contested when the July heat was in full effect.
The Lady Grangers handled everything well.
They ended up making it to the championship game in their division, and they ran out of steam and lost to the LaGrange High boys’ junior-varsity team.
LaGrange girls’ coach Andy Fritchley said his players “were exhausted, but they played their hearts out until nearly midnight.”
In the varsity boys’ bracket, it was LaGrange High capturing top honors with a 7-2 victory over Troup in the championship game.
League play began in June, and teams from LaGrange High, Callaway, Troup, Lafayette Christian, LaGrange Academy and Harris County participated.
Of the Lady Grangers’ five games on Thursday, three of them were against boys’ teams, and Fritchley said that was a “great learning experience for the girls.”
LaGrange was joined in its division by the girls teams from Callaway and Troup, as well as the junior-varsity boys teams from all three of those schools.
In the varsity boys’ division, LaGrange was the number four seed based on results throughout the summer.
Troup was the top seed followed by Lafayette Christian, Callaway and LaGrange High.
In the first round, LaGrange got off to a quick start with a win over Troup, and it didn’t play again until the final game when it beat Troup again.
To reach the championship game, Troup needed a dramatic win over Lafayette Christian.
Troup built a 3-1 lead, but Lafayette Christian rallied to tie at 3-3 at the close of regulation, and they played a scoreless five-minute overtime period.
Troup then won on penalty kicks to reach the championship game, and by that point it had played two games in a row, and it only had a break of a few minutes before playing a third straight game against LaGrange.
In the title game, LaGrange jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, and it never looked back on the way to the one-sided win.
“Playing three games back to back can really hurt you,” LaGrange coach Keita Placide said. “We tried to put pressure on them, and knock the sails out of them a little bit.”
While wins are nice, Placide said the main value of the summer league is that it gives him plenty of time to work with the players on the fundamentals of the game.
“Summer is really a good time to work on things like that,” Placide said. “I feel like we have improved on a lot of those things.”
The summer league was also beneficial for the Callaway Cavaliers and their new head coach, Mike Petite.
The league allowed Petite a chance to get to know his players in advance of the 2017 season that begins in February.
“Now, I’ve been out here with them six, seven weeks, and they actually show up and I know them by face,” Petite said. “I know them by name. Otherwise, I would have no idea. Now, do I not only get to know them, but I get to see them play. They have a learning curve with me, and I have a learning curve with them. This gets us way out ahead of that.”
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports