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PREP SOCCER: Coosa ends Model’s undefeated stretch with close win

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A grudge match between two tough Region 7-AA soccer squads was decided in the final 40 minutes Friday night as Model and Coosa’s boys worked their way through the cold night air.

But despite a second-half recovery, the host Blue Devils tasted defeat for the first time this season while the Eagles hope to have found the boost to bring them out of a slump.

Coosa scored three goals after Model took a 2-1 lead in the 52nd minute. The Eagles then held on for the 4-3 victory, giving them just their second win of the season.

“How sweet it is,” Coosa head coach Ruben Maldonado said after the game. “We’ve been on the other end of wins all season, and this couldn’t have come at a better time. Our guys got motivated today.”

Maldonado said the Eagles’ got a talk from sophomore Jorge Lopez before the game and his words helped the team find its focus heading into the match. Coosa (2-4-1, 2-2 7-AA) entered the contest having won just once this season.

“Beating an undefeated team in our region means a lot to us,” Maldonado said. “But I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Model. They have an amazing coaching staff and team.”

A header from Coosa’s Chandler Hubbard went in off a corner kick in the 54th minute to tie the game at 2-2.

Orlando Lopez then put the Eagles up 3-2 on a free kick 10 minutes later.

Another 10 minutes passed before Jorge Lopez found a path down the field before catching the Devils’ keeper out of goal and punching in Coosa’s final goal to make it 4-2.

“Coosa is a great opponent and we knew their record didn’t represent how good they were,” Model head coach Donnie Mendence said. “You can’t leave Jorge open on goal.”

Model (5-1, 3-1) cut the Eagles’ lead to one in the 78th minute when Tee Jarrard scored on a penalty kick the squeezed into the top left corner.

Jarrard was a part of the Blue Devils’ other goals, sending the corner kick that was headed in by Nathan Weaver six minutes into the second half that made it 1-1 and then finishing a hard pass from Matthew Syverson for a goal in the 52nd minute.

Coosa hosts Dade County on Tuesday, while Model will step outside the region to host Woodland.

Model will play at Gordon Central on Thursday.