NEWPORT—The Cocke County Lady Red’s defense created a tough night for the Cosby High Lady Eagles in the inter-county match on Thursday.
A usually heavy-scoring Cosby team was held to only three scores, as Cocke County’s game plan was to take care of business on the defensive end. It’s exactly what happened, too, but still gave way to a 3-0 victory for the Lady Eagles.
“We knew it would be tough coming in,” Cosby’s assistance coach James Groat said. “The past few games, teams have been playing eight to nine girls back to keep us from scoring. Cocke County has gotten a lot better.”
The Lady Red (3-4) only had one shot on goal, giving Cosby (9-1) as many shots as it wanted as long as defenders could knock the ball away from the goal.
“We knew this would be a tough game and we had a set game plan,” head coach Mikayla Gregg of Cocke County said. “We moved some players around just for our defense to work a little better. Whenever you only give up three goals against Cosby, you have to be happy. Defensively, it was our best game of the season.”
Freshman goal keeper Addy Smith of Cocke County had her work cut out for her running from post to post with six saves in the game. The Lady Eagles would get by Smith’s quick defense a few times, however.
Junior Leia Groat hit the back of the net twice for the Lady Eagles — a goal in each half — as junior Leah Murray knocked in the first goal for Cosby to grab the early lead.
Cocke County’s only chance for a score came in the fifth minute of the game with its shot on goal. Soon after, the midfield and defense took steps back to focus on keeping the Lady Eagles out of the net for the evening.
The Lady Red stood strong until Murray’s goal 13 minutes in to begin Cosby’s scoring. Shortly after in the 30th minute, Leia Groat’s first score came from a corner kick as she bumped the ball in with her chest.
“We practice those corner shots a lot,” James Groat said. “We are good at those. I saw our midfield take some good shots, too. We have to start using our midfield even more and get them better at taking shots.”
Cosby rode with the 2-0 lead into halftime after attempting only three more shots in the remaining 10 minutes.
Cocke County’s defense had much work to do beginning the second half with five-straight saves coming from Smith in 20 minutes.
“Addy had to step up,” Gregg said. “She started a little nervous, but once she started going she got a lot of saves. I’m excited to have her back there for the next three years.”
Smith became fatigued on Cosby’s third goal, as Leia Groat fought her way into the front of the goal to boot the ball in for her second goal.
The Lady Eagles’ 3-0 lead would not climb any higher, as Cocke County’s defense protected the final 15 minutes.
“Our girls are fighters,” James Groat said. “We love that kind of play. Our defense was ready and we are ready for all of the challenges that any team gives us.”
Cosby extends its winning streak to nine games as it heads to battle Alcoa on the road in a critical district match. As for Cocke County, it will travel to Morristown East to take on the Lady Hurricanes in a non-district contest.
Both of those games are slated for 6 p.m. kickoffs on the road.