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Augusta Prep ruins season opener for Bulloch Academy

    Before the start of Monday’s regular-season opener against Augusta Prep, Bulloch Academy soccer coach Matthew Meek said the Cavaliers usually get off to a fast start against them.
    In order to win, Meek said his team needed to slow Augusta Prep down early.
    However, that wouldn’t be the case as the Cavaliers scored four straight goals on the way to a 4-2 win over BA at Gator Alley.
    Grant Williams and Brian Marsh both scored goals in the second half for Bulloch Academy.
    “Again, it’s the same thing. Every single year is a new year for us. We have some new guys in some spots and it’s going to take time to gel and take time to mesh,” Meeks said.
    Bulloch Academy lost a few seniors on the defensive rotation from last year’s squad. The Gators also received a boost in their roster at the conclusion of basketball season with additional players joining the team.
    The combination of finding the best unit on the field has been somewhat challenging, Meeks said.
    “It takes time. The problem is we don’t have a whole lot of time. Especially with seasons ending and the new ones beginning,” Meeks said.
    The Gators are also adjusting to a new formation this season. The boys changed from a 3-4-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1.
    Bulloch Academy’s soccer coach said the new change will allow his team to have more of an advantage on the offensive side of the ball.
    “It sounds strange but It’s kind of like a 6-4. I should have six people truly thinking of defense first and then four to five people pushing forward to attack,” Meeks said.
    Against Augusta Prep, the new change seemed to hold its own as the Gators allowed just one goal in the first half.
    In the second half, the Cavaliers came out swinging by scoring three goals in the first 13 minutes of the second half.
    Meeks said last year’s team may have given up an additional goal, however, the Gators cut the lead thanks to some key goals.
    Williams struck first at the 12:31 mark in the second half. Three minutes later, Marsh would find the back of the net.
    BA Foreign exchange student Ray Zenge had a chance to give BA their first goal and possibly cut into the deficit earlier. His shot on goal just missed.
    Zenge’s performance is something Meeks said his team could use more of.
    “Ray is a good, quality technical player and hopefully a guy that will get into the flow of American soccer,” Meeks said. “He’s doing great work in the classroom and hopefully going to be able to help us on the soccer field in the next couple of months.”

Lady Cavs 15, Lady Gators 0
            It wasn’t going to be easy replacing last year’s senior class for the Bulloch Academy Lady Gators. BA lost several key components from last year’s squad.
    In their first test of the regular season, the Lady Gators found out just how tough it would be to replace such a solid class by going up against one of the top teams in the state.
    Augusta Prep—back-to-back defending GISA state champions—scored early against Bulloch Academy and never looked back to roll to a 15-0 win Monday night.
    “As a coach, you always hate to talk about it being a rebuilding year. We have to understand the truth of the matter. We’re a young team and we’re going to take our knocks. We’re going to take time to grow,” soccer coach Matthew Meeks said. “It’s the first time these girls have truly played together.”
    The Lady Gators graduated nine seniors last year. This year’s team is assembled with 10 freshman, five sophomores and just one senior.
    “This gives our team an idea of the level we’re going to have to play against,” said Meeks after the game. “(Augusta Prep) is a darn good team and we got to see where we have to go to and see what we need to work on.”
    In the first 10 minutes of Monday’s game, the Lady Gators found themselves down 3-0. BA had trouble moving forward against the Cavaliers’ defense.
    The Lady Gators were unable to move the ball past the midfield until the 7:28 mark in the first half and recorded just one shot on goal.
    Jokingly, before the regular season opener, Meeks told his starting freshman goalkeeper that she may need an extra set of gloves going up against the defending champs.
    Despite receiving the mercy rule with just two minutes to go in the game, Bulloch Academy goalkeeper Madi Mobley had several key saves in the first half.
    “She stood in there very well for the first 20 minutes or so,” Meeks said of his goalkeeper. “If you have to play defense for that long eventually the dam’s going to break. It takes a great game by the keeper to keep you in there. She did a great job to be a freshman against very talented shooters and very technical shooters. She stood in there very well.”
    Bulloch Academy (0-1) will have a chance at redemption when they take on Hilton Head Christian Academy at 4 p.m. on the road.