COVINGTON -- Two goals in the second half by Lacey Brackett helped the Lady Rams feel like winners for the first time this season as Newton defeated Salem 3-2 in a non-region match on Tuesday.
"It's been a while coming. We've got a young team; it's a rebuilding year for us as things are coming together. We seem to be gelling as a team becoming more cohesive. We're getting out there with a little bit more confidence on the offensive side of the field.
"Lacey is one of the leaders on our team. She always leads by example and always gives it her all. She's also our strongest shooter," Newton head coach David Alexander said. "I would say her game has improved as we've gone on through the season."
The Lady Rams (1-9 overall, 0-3 Area 2-AAAAAA) scored first on an Amanda Fonseca kick. But Salem (3-6-1, 1-4 Area 8-AAAAA) answered with a pair of goals by Hannah Watkins at the 16:05 and 1:06 mark of the first half.
"On that second goal when we lost the lead we were a little bit demoralized. We had a player go down and the girls were waiting on the whistle from the referee but it didn't come. We kind of lost our focus there for a minute," Alexander said. "But we talked at halftime and talked about importance of scoring rather quick, getting things tied up and we managed to do that."
It didn't take long for the coach's words to sink in. Twelve minutes into the second half, Brackett took the ball, maneuvered it past and through the Lady Seminoles defense before going one-on-one against the keeper, sending a rocket past her to tie the game.
Salem came back with a vengeance to retake the lead, but between Newton's defense and a little bit more bend on the ball than intended, the game remained tied.
"We were able to hold on until we could get a little bit of an offensive charge and we took that lead," Alexander said.
Brackett had a chance to give Newton the lead with 11 minutes left to play when an excellent free kick from 25 yards out send the ball toward the goal. But an even better stop by the Salem keeper kept the score tied.
However, Brackett got another chance from outside the box as her kick took a high arc over the keeper's head just inside the goal line.
"Wind was definitely a factor. I think when she took her shots that was one thing she was thinking about," Alexander said. "The wind held the ball up on that last goal."
Both teams continue their area play on their home field starting at 5:30 on Friday as Salem takes on Heritage while Newton hosts Rockdale.