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Lady Blue Devils kick off state playoffs
SHS girls soccer
Statesboro High's Smith Kaiser sends a shot into the net during the Devils' region championship-clinching win over Wayne County. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

The Statesboro Blue Devils girls soccer team accomplished one of their goals this season - winning the region championship - now it’s off to the state tournament to try and reach another goal.


“I can't overstate how important winning the region title was for us,” said Statesboro coach Brian Thomas. “The moment our season ended last year all we talked about really was what it would take to win region.  Winning the title this year was just a culmination of a lot of hard work since last summer really.”


Statesboro was coming off a disappointing early exit to the state playoffs a year ago, but coach Thomas says that may have been a good thing in the long run, as it helped motivate this years group.


“I’m proud about what we've accomplished this season so far, “ Thomas said. “Going undefeated in region play and also winning our division at the Taxslayer Classic in Augusta were big accomplishments. We have nine shutouts this year, and for the most part have been stingy defensively.”


“We still have goals the girls set in preseason,’’ Thomas said. “Goals about advancing past the first round, and into the sweet sixteen and farther.” 


Things will begin for the Blue Devils Tuesday at 5:30 as they host Thomas County Central, who are the No. 4 seed out of Region 1.


“We don't know a lot about Thomas County Central,” Thomas said. “From what I've heard they have a few dangerous players that we'll need to contain in order to be successful. They are in a region with three really strong teams. Veterans, Warner Robins, and Harris County are all solid.”


The one big advantage the Blue Devils have is home field. Statesboro is perfect this year at home, and it’s something that coach Thomas feels will definitely play a factor Tuesday evening.


“We are very excited about getting to play at home in first round,” Thomas said. “Our girls enjoy the routine, our home game traditions, and having our fans out to support us. We have had some of the larger crowds I can recall in awhile this year, so it's really great to be able to play at home.”


Statesboro and Thomas County Central get things underway Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Womack Field.