Special Photo/Reggie Davis Alexander sophomore Marianna Neau has 59 saves in 480 minutes this season.

Seven games into the season, Alexander coach Justin Fitzgerald likes where his team at heading into a big road trip.

The Cougars are 4-3 overall after Tuesday’s win at New Manchester for its second Region 5-AAAAAA win of the season.

“We got some new girls playing different position,” Fitzgerald said. “They had a learning curve coming into the year in understanding their roles. The positions are different from what they played last season and from what they play with their club teams. It is just a matter of getting everybody to understand their roles.”

To help the team get ready for region and beyond, Fitzgerald upgraded the Cougars’ schedule.

Alexander has played Whitewater, Alpharetta and Starr’s Mill, team that have solid programs.

The next three days, however, should be a big test for the Cougars as they head to a tournament on Jekyll Island. There will be teams from Georgia, Florida and South Carolina at the three-day tournament, which starts on Thursday.

The Cougars will play Lee County, River Ridge and Academy of Richmond County (ARC) during the tournament.

“We are going to play some good competition, which will help us in the long run,” Alexander sophomore Sara Schultz said. “It will be a lot of fun. I think this tournament will make us a lot better team for the rest of the season.”

Lee County is 6-1 on the season and advanced to the state semifinals last season. River Ridge is 2-0 and the ARC 6-0 on the season.

Last season, ARC lost (8-0) to Chapel Hill in the second round of the playoffs.

“All three of the teams that we are playing a very good,” Fitzgerald said. “I think we are going to get a lot out of this rather than playing some weaker teams.”

The players agreed.

“It is very exciting to play in this tournament,” junior Macey Hodge said.

Hodge has committed to Vanderbilt. Junior Keerston Hambrick leads the team with seven goals and is the co-leader with two assists.

Schultz has four goals for the Cougars.

Sophomore Marianna Neau has been solid at goalie with 59 saves in 480 minutes, and has a 1.33 goals against average.

In addition to Hodge, Fitzgerald said that Madison Wike has been playing well as has K.P. Hambrick and  Alyssa Lane.

Senior Madison Demkowski is one of the leaders of the team. She will play at LaGrange College next season.

“We have a really solid group,” Fitzgerald said. “I think defensively we are solid. We just have to finish our opportunities.”

In addition to the competition on the field, the players said the trip will help in team bonding.

“Team bonding is super big in sports, especially soccer,” Hodge said. “This will give us an opportunity to get to know our teammates a lot better.”

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