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Lady Devils ready for second round of state
SHS girls soccer
Statesboro High's Katelyn Carter gets behind the New Hampstead defense for a shot on goal during a March game at Womack Field. Statesboro hosts Whitewater today in the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff


The Statesboro Blue Devils girl’s soccer team is one win away from making history. No Statesboro girl’s soccer team has ever advanced to the state elite eight, and that is what is on the line Tuesday night, as the 13-2-3 Blue Devils welcome Whitewater to Womack field.


“We have put ourselves in a great position to make history,” said Statesboro coach Brian Thomas. “Winning the region championship assured ourselves of two games here at home, and we like our chances here at home.”


As well they should, as the Blue Devils are perfect at Womack field on the season. The fans seem to be catching on as well as the crowds continue to grow, as the Blue Devils continue to advance.


“It is such an advantage to play at home,” Thomas said. “We get to stay in our routine, each game we get more and more fans out here. The girls feed off the energy here at home, and it’s no surprise we haven’t lost a game here all season.”


The Statesboro players are well aware that no Blue Devil team has ever advanced past the sweet 16, but they are anxious to put their names in the record books Tuesday night.


“I think we are all excited and ready to play,” said senior striker Isabella Gutierrez. “Honestly I’m just ready to go out and show them that Statesboro is the little engine that could.”


“I think we are very prepared,” said senior midfielder Smith Kaiser. “I think we are going to have a great crowd, and we are going to do it.”


“I feel like we are prepared, and we have been ready for this moment all season,” said senior defender Rachel Thomas. “We have a scouting report on Whitewater, and I’d say we are very prepared.”


The scouting report Rachel Thomas is referring to came from her father, coach Brian Thomas making the trek up to McDonough for their 2-0 opening round victory over Eagles Landing.


“They play a different formation then we have seen before, as they go with a 3-5-2 with just three girls in the back,” Thomas said. “They have one player — number 12 — who is who is extremely good off the dribble and shoots the ball very well. We are going to have to account for her, but they are solid all around.”


Whitewater comes in 15-5 on the season. The Wildcats come in having won nine straight games, and were the No. 3 seed out of Region-3 which included top-10 ranked McIntosh and Starr’s Mill.


“We know they have played in a tough region, and had a good non region schedule,” said Thomas. “I feel like the key to the game is us winning punts, goal kicks and 50/50 balls. It’s going to come down to a battle in the midfield.”


Statesboro and Whitewater get things going Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Womack Field.

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