It’s never easy to beat the same team twice in a season.
That was a lesson the Statesboro boys learned the hard way as they dropped a 1-0 decision to Effingham County Tuesday night at Womack Field.
In a game that saw limited scoring opportunities for both teams, it was Damon Webb’s header off of a Juan Valdez corner kick with 8:39 to play in the first half that proved to be the only goal.
"I’ve got to give Effingham credit," SHS coach Nick Thrower said. "That was just a perfectly placed ball. The way that game was going, whoever got a break was probably going to win. They got it. We didn’t"
Alan Rodriquez and Hector Angeles both missed just wide with long shots in the first half. Midway through the second half, Zach McClendon broke away from his man and let loose a shot from 15 yards out, but Effingham keeper Colby Pearce got a hand on it.
With 5:41 to play, Statesboro missed on its last scoring chance. Angeles stole the ball 30 yards out and was unimpeded to the goal, but dribbled a bit too far ahead of himself, allowing Pearce to race up and take the ball away.
"With two teams playing defensive systems, we knew it would be a grind," Thrower said. "When Effingham got that early goal, things got a lot tougher. I thought we played well, but we just didn’t make a lot happen and couldn’t find a goal."
Lady Devils 3, Lady Rebels 1
The Statesboro girls completed their sweep of Effingham as the Lady Blue Devils recorded 3-1 victory.
For the Devils (6-2, 4-2 Region 2-AAAA), the win keeps them in prime position to make a run at a good seed in the state playoffs.
"It’s getting to that point where we can talk about the postseason," SHS coach Brian Thomas said. "Right now, we’re in a good spot as far as getting in."
Statesboro and Effingham battled each other close throughout most of the first half. The Devils pressured, but were constantly turned back by the Rebel defense. With just over 10 minutes to play in the first half, Chelsea Wilson finally broke through for Statesboro.
Just before the half, Reagan Thomas doubled the advantage as she also found the back of the net.
Tori Thompson made it a 3-0 lead early in the second half and while Effingham was able to get on the board with just under five minutes to play, it was far too late for a comeback.
Both the Statesboro boys and girls return to action Friday as they travel to Augusta to face Evans in another important Region 2-AAAA showdown.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.