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Devils welcome Lakeside on emotional Senior Night

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Posted: March 26, 2007 10:49 p.m.
Updated: April 10, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    It will be an emotional night tonight at Womack Field when the Statesboro soccer teams line up for one final home game.
    The Lady Blue Devils welcome Lakeside beginning at 5 p.m. with the boys to follow for  crucial region 3-AAAA matches. Both teams are prepared for what is shaping up to be tough night.
    “The last game (against Lakeside) was real tight, we beat them with less than a minute to go in overtime,” said senior Thomas Eisenhart. “Both teams had plenty of chances, so it’ll be real tight (again).”
    The Blue Devils (4-5-2), inexplicably, have had trouble scoring this season and head coach Chad Prosser is looking for answers.    
    “We’re going to set up a little bit differently (today),” said Prosser. “We may even try some people in different positions. That’s unusual this late in the year. We’re going to try and get a spark to finish a little better.”
    Eisenhart joins Morgan Doty, Ben Ellgass, Jack Kimes, Josh Rich, Jose Rubio and keeper Jake Lanier as seniors to be honored between the two matches this evening.
    “It’s going to be a pretty big event,” said Lanier. “I’m pretty excited to play. A lot of us have played together since we were eight.”
    The Panthers play an offside-trapping game, something the new-look Devils will try to exploit tonight while controlling the emotions of Senior Night.
    “These seniors are a special group,” said Prosser. “They mean a lot to me individually as people and also to our program. They’re going to be a tremendous loss for us when they go. I think a lot of the hard work they put in will pay off for the other guys.”
    The Lady Blue Devils will be feeling the same sentiments when they kick off at 5 p.m. Nine seniors will take the pitch for girls’ squad (3-5-2), many of which have played together since childhood.
    “I’ve been playing with some of these girls since I was in sixth grade,” said senior keeper Christa Mitchell. “It’s going to be sad (today), we’re all going to be sad because it means we have to leave pretty soon. We’ve all been playing soccer together for so long.”
    Statesboro will look to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Lady Panthers earlier this season.
    “They’re very well coached, with good passing and spacing with a good first touch,” said head coach Andrew Hansen. “They’re able to move the ball around very well and fluidly. If we don’t take away that game from them they’re going to have shots all the time. We have to play hard defense, if we don’t it’s going to be a long day.”
    Mitchell joins Becca Babot, Page Brunson, Maryn Case, Anna Casey, Chelsea Colgan, Brianna Dillon, Rebecca Donahue and Britt Thomas as Devils who will be suiting up for the last time at Womack.
    “It’ll definitely be a sad night,” said Babot, a senior midfielder. “Most of us aren’t planning on playing in college, so it’ll be the last time we all play on the same field. I’m sure we’ll all cry.”
    Even Brittany Hood, who suffered a broken wrist in Saturday’s loss to Richmond Hill, will take the field for a chance to play with this senior class one more time.
    “I’m going to miss them a lot, we’ve been together since we were in fifth grade,” said Hood, a defender. “The team’s just not going to be the same without them.”
    Added Hansen: “(The seniors) are probably one our biggest and best groups of players to come through Statesboro that I can remember. To have this much talent and knowledge of the game, it’s been rare.”
        
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.
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