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Sylacauga Lady Aggies soccer prepares for rubber match against area nemesis Marbury in state playoff quarterfinals

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SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The Sylacauga Aggies women’s soccer team and a familiar area foe, the Marbury Bulldogs, will face off in the AHSAA Class 5A state playoff quarterfinal match on Friday evening, May 5, at 6:30 p.m. on Sylacauga High School’s (SHS) soccer-specific field.

The two teams have already played twice this season, with each team winning a close 1-0 contest at home.

“The one we lost at Marbury was in double overtime with less than two minutes to go, and then the one here on the corner with less than two minutes to go in regulation, we score and win,” Head Coach Nick Grogan recalled of the two regular-season contests, “so we’re evenly matched.”

Having faced Marbury twice as an area opponent means Grogan and his team know what’s coming from the Bulldogs and what they need to do to come out victorious.

“We don’t have a whole lot we can hide from each other at this point,” said Grogan. “It’s just who’s going to come out and play and have their A-game on the right day.”

While still missing a few key pieces of their squad, Sylacauga, 19-3-1 on the season, is in better shape injury-wise than they were when they defeated Marbury at home almost one month ago on April 6.

The biggest difference between that win and tomorrow’s quarterfinal will be the playing field condition. On April 6, they played at Legion Stadium which has artificial turf. Tomorrow, they will challenge Marbury on grass.

“Turf is a lot faster,” Grogan explained. “I think we had an advantage on turf last time we played them just because they don’t play on turf much.”

However, Grogan believes the Aggies feel more confident on grass than they do on turf.

“We know the field,” Grogan pointed out. “We know all the bumps. We know those things, so hopefully that will play to our advantage when we play on it.”

The Aggies did lose some key pieces to their team throughout the season due to long-term injuries and off-the-field issues, but the younger girls who’ve stepped up for Coach Grogan have made an instant impact.

“I’ve got four freshmen,” Grogan said. “K-La’ [Tinsley] is a starting goalkeeper, Maggie [Forbus] is starting center mid, starting wing [in Mia Dennis], and Maggie [Reeves] contributes a lot. Alyssa [Pruitt] is a starter as an eighth grader.”

Along with those underclassmen, two seventh graders also start in Natalie Perez-Vasquez and Gigi Childress.

Their contributions to go with senior defensive leadership in Peyton Fricks and Emma Grace Steers have put the Aggies on the verge of their first Final Four appearance in program history.

In order to do that, Sylacauga will need to ace one final test at home against Marbury, and Coach Grogan wants the fans to make sure that the home advantage plays a huge factor for the Aggies.

“For them to know that the community is behind them and pushing them through, that’s amazing because, they’ve earned it,” added Grogan. “They’ve been ranked number one in the state this year. Other than the games against [Benjamin Russell], they’ve only allowed one goal all year long. They deserve all the support from the community they can get to know the community is behind them.”


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