Rockdale gets a split
Lady Bulldogs come back to beat South; boys shut out

CONYERS - Rockdale's soccer squads collected a split with South Gwinnett on Monday night at Reid Memorial Stadium.

The Lady Bulldogs opened the season with a 2-1 come-from-behind win, while the Rockdale boys suffered a disconcerting 5-0 setback.

The Lady Bulldogs fell behind 1-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game and the score held until halftime.

But with 38:25 showing on the clock in the second half, Lauren Coursey took a pass from Tiffany Story and tapped it past goalkeeper Amanda Sexton to tie the contest at 1-1.

A little more than 10 minutes later, with 27:51 left on the clock, Coursey struck gold again.

This time, Coursey took a pass from Betsy Avery and buried it in the left corner of the net.

The goal put the Lady Bulldogs up 2-1 - a count that held until the final buzzer.

"I asked them to step up in the second half, and that's exactly what they did," Rockdale girls coach Patrick Batubenge said. "A lot of it came down to our fitness. We've been working really hard on that. We're still not where we need to be, but it's a great start."

Rockdale goalkeeper Cassie Ireland was also key in the win as the junior collected 11 saves.

"Tonight, I think she (Ireland) showed us that we can count on her," Batubenge said. "She still has some work to do, but I think it's things we can work on with her."

The Rockdale girls play again today at home against Greater Atlanta Christian at 5:30.

"It's going to be a hard season and we're going to face some very good teams," Batubenge said. "All we can do is try and get them ready and do what we know how to do."

The Rockdale boys weren't as lucky in their season opener.

South Gwinnett led 3-0 by halftime and added two more second half scores to make the final 5-0.

The Bulldogs will try and get back on the winning track Wednesday when they play host to Duluth. The game is slated to begin at 5:30.

Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans@rockdalecitizen.com