MARIETTA If anyone Air Force 1 Black High Tops doesn't believe that defense wins games, ask the Walton girls soccer team.
The Lady Raiders play four in the back with a defensive midfielder handling much of the duties. If an opposing forward should break through Walton's strong barrier, Marquette bound goalkeeper Michel Fernandez is normally good about cleaning it up.
When Galvin Nike Force Low
was asked what his plan of attack would be if Lassiter should meet Walton again in the playoffs, Nike Air Force 1 High 07 Black White
Walton's defense begins with Fernandez. The Lady Raiders may have three additional losses this season had it not been for Fernandez's efforts as goalkeeper.
Maya Cherry is the other center back and is often difficult to beat in one on one situations. Sarah Hardin, also a cross country runner, plays the right side and can use endurance to her advantage. Lucy Sanders covers the left side and is arguably the best attacker of the bunch once she intercepts the ball.
"What makes them so great is that they are obviously talented individual players," Lassiter coach Robbie Galvin said. "You can see how they Nike Air Force 1 Low 2018
Lady Raiders stingy when it comes to giving up goals
Highlights include a leaping effort to prevent the ball from reaching the back of the net in the final moments of Walton's 1 0 victory over defending state champion Milton. She also had nine saves against Etowah.
And if it hadn't been for Fernandez's ability to stop penalty kicks, Walton may have three more losses on the year. She stopped one attempts against Brookwood at the beginning of the season and went on to stop two more penalty kicks each against 5AAAAAA rivals Etowah and Lassiter.
"I'm not going to give away what I look for (during penalty kicks)," Fernandez said, "but I just read players and their body language."
Walton (12 3 2) has just been crowned just been crowned Region 5AAAAAA champions after beating Lassiter 1 0 in penalty kicks last Friday, and it's not because they score a lot of goals. They've played 17 games this season and only twice they scored more than three goals in a game.
collectively play together. There is great communication amongst them."
Fernandez stopped two penalty kick attempts against both Lassiter and Etowah to help Walton win both. Other highlights also came away with nine saves against Etowah.
Cooksey, who is the center defender, is now healthy after tearing her ACL last season. Loughran said she's not quite as aggressive as she had been in the past because of the injury, but her timing is better when it comes to stealing the ball from the opposition.
Walton plays a zonal defense where players are assigned a certain area of the field to defend and communicating and staying disciplined for 80 plus minutes are one of their bigger strong suits.
At the same time, Walton's total number of losses may be higher if Fernandez doesn't get the protection that she needs from the five players in front of her.
But opposing teams often get turned away by defensive midfielder Erica Langhorne when they attack before reach the four players covering the back and is great at winning balls in the air.
It's because its defense hasn't given up a goal in regulation and overtime play in over a month. Etowah was the last team that found the net against the headstrong Walton defense March 25. The Lady Raiders won that game 2 1 in penalty kicks and posted five straight shutouts afterwards.
he said. "You, know, we have to keep pressing them and hope that they break. That's all you can hope for."
"That's not how you win," senior Lysette Cooksey said with a laugh.
"The first and most important thing is that we have fantastic defensive players," Walton coach Sharon Loughran said. "They keep in good shape and we try to stay connected, compact and disciplined. We don't like to panic and move the ball. Once we get possession, we like to hang on to is so that we're not immediately on defense again. That's kind of our style."
Going into the first round of the Class AAAAAA state tournament at home Tuesday against Dacula, Walton's defenders are not expecting to change their stubborn attitudes. Because why?
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