Angel Jackson

North Gwinnett High School’s soccer teams hosted their neighbors, Lanier High School, as the girls and boys teams played back-to-back matches Tuesday, Feb. 8.

The North Gwinnett girls came out on top with a comfortable 4-1 victory, while the Bulldog’s boys team clinched a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Longhorns.

North Gwinnett’s points came from three debut varsity goalscorers, freshman Angel Jackson, sophomore Marley Mullins and junior Caroline Varitek, who scored both of her goals from free kicks.

In the first half we struggled to connect passes and to generate offense against an organized and physical Lanier team,” said Jeffrey Becker, North Gwinnett’s head girls soccer coach. “In the second half, our concentration and urgency were better, and we picked up our intensity in both defending and attacking the goal.”

In the second game of the evening, North Gwinnett’s boys started out struggling for possession.

“(Lanier) did a great job of pressuring us into giving up the ball; they held us to our lowest possession and shot total so far this season, so a lot of credit to them as well,” said Chris Leone, the head boys soccer coach at North Gwinnett.

Leone praised his senior captain, defender Alex Forrand, for his strong performance in keeping the defense organized and the whole team focused. He also applauded the efforts of junior Ryan Williams, who was able to win possession high up the field and earn the only goal of the game from North Gwinnett’s only shot on target.

“I think it says a lot about our team that we’re still able to grind out tough wins even when we aren’t at our best,” Leone added.

Head coach of the Longhorn’s boys soccer team, Ezra Crumley, said, “Both programs worked very hard throughout the entire competition. They represented their schools very well … Best of luck to North Gwinnett and their program moving forward.”

FEATURED PHOTO: Courtesy of Jeffrey Becker/North Gwinnett soccer

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