COVINGTON - Even with last year's top scorer Lynea Fouser back, the Newton girls soccer team is still going to have a battle to make it to the Class AAAAA soccer state playoffs with the addition of soccer power Greenbrier to Area 2-AAAAA this year.
"Greenbrier has been added to our (region). They are strong," Newton coach Mary Roach said. "In 2008, they went to the second round of the state playoffs."
While Roach would like to make it to the playoffs for the fifth straight year, she knows that it's going to be harder this year and not just because of Greenbrier.
Other teams that Newton has to contend with for the four top spots include Union Grove, Luella and Stephenson.
"Our team goals are to be competitive in every match and get to the state playoffs," Roach said.
Helping the Lady Rams along with Fouser are seniors Valencia Selby and Erica Usher and sophomore Candy Penaloza.
"The new players we have are young but experienced. We are young but they're willing to do the work," Roach said. "This team will definitely learn and grow together."
The four freshmen Roach is counting on are Tiana Payne, Kayla Eason, Sylvia Godinez and Monica Nga Nga.
"Half of my offense will be ninth-graders while half of my defense will be ninth-graders," Roach said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge of the season. Getting the players to take personal responsibility of their efforts is a key to our success."
Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils
SideBar: At A Glance
· Team: Newton girls
· Coach: Mary Roach (fifth season)
· Last year's record: 6-9-0, lost to East Coweta 14-0 in first round of Class AAAAA state playoffs
· First game: Tuesday at Morgan County, 5:30 p.m.