Lady Rams want to go to playoffs

COVINGTON - After a 1-1 to start the 2008 season, Newton girls soccer coach Mary Roach knows a postseason berth won't be easy this year.

The first thing Roach has to do is find a way to take the load off last year's leading scorer, Lynea Fouser.

In their first game of the season against Mount Zion, which they won 6-3, Fouser scored five of the goals.

"My goal is to get more than one person scoring. Lynea is the goal scorer, but we need others to support her," Roach said. "I'm not getting that and I'm concerned."

Fouser scored 38 of the 59 goals scored by the Lady Rams last season. Roach said she feels that if someone can find a way to shut her down, they will not be able to score without her.

"I told the team that if anyone knows anything about us, they know about Lynea Fouser, and, when they know about her and try to shut her down, who's going to step up to the plate," Roach said. "That's my challenge to get that through to them. Some understand, but they're not getting in position to finish."

While some of the girls understand the problem, they are unable to do much about it because they are not sure how to do it.

This year's Newton team has five returning starters from last season and five moving up from last year's JV team. The other five players have never stepped on a soccer field before.

The returning players are seniors Claire Davis, Megan Heineman and Tauntiana Kennedy, junior Fouser and sophomore Courtney Gunter.

Moving up from JV are senior Shertekia Allen, junior Erica Usher, sophomore Lupita Serrato and freshmen Leandra Houston and Lenzie Rutledge.

New to the game are freshman Candy Penaloza, junior Valencia Selby and seniors Destiny Jones, Damita Smith and Toneshia Favors.

"The biggest challenge is for our returning players to get everyone to where they need to be. Our next biggest challenge is mental toughness. The next is ability," Roach said. "We just have to work on repetition. They have to do that on their own because I don't have the time."

Gunter, who played keeper last year, will probably share time with Usher until someone steps up to take the position. But that someone could come from the field.

"At sweeper I have a freshman, Lenzie Rutledge, she's straight from JV. She's also a goalkeeper, but if I take her off the field, I'll lose a lot," Roach said.

Helping the keeper in the backfield are Heineman, Davis and Jones. But Roach is considering moving Jones to the front to help Fouser. While Jones is not experienced, Roach said she has the type of speed that other teams have to respect, and that might be enough to get Fouser open.

Last year, the Lady Rams finished second in Area 2-AAAA and advanced to the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs for the first time in school. Newton is shooting for its fourth straight playoff berth this season.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At A Glance

· Team: Newton girls soccer

· Coach: Mary Roach

· Last year: 13-4 overall, 6-1 in Area 2-AAAAA, lost 7-1 to Newnan in second round of Class AAAA state playoffs

· Next game: 5:30 p.m. today at Douglass