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LEHS sweeps Blue Devils

After 90 minutes of solid play from both sides, a pair of big plays proved to be the difference as Lakeside, Evans came away with a hard-earned 2-0 victory over the Statesboro girls Friday evening at Womack Field.
    A defensive miscue allowed Tessa Geyer to put the Lady Panthers ahead in the 13th minute and – with Statesboro pushing everyone forward in search of a late equalizer — Katie Coleman put the nail in the Lady Devils’ coffin in the 74th minute.
    “It’s a tough loss to take, but I was proud of our girls,” said SHS coach Brian Thomas. “We looked more poised and confident that the first time we played Lakeside. We did a much better job of controlling the ball and getting opportunities and we hung around with one of the best teams in the region for the entire game.”
    Lakeside pressed its offense early and got some good looks, but the Statesboro defense was quick to clear the ball out of its zone and goalkeeper Makayla Patterson’s diving save in the fifth minute denied Geyer to keep the game scoreless.
    The Panthers pulled ahead in the 13th minute when the Devils tried to clear a cross, but didn’t get enough on the touch.
    The ball sailed high into the air and Geyer was in just the right place to receive it, sliding a shot past Patterson for a 1-0 advantage.
    “That was a little bit of poor execution and a little bad luck,” said Thomas. “We played well all game, but little things like that can really hurt you. I did like that we were able to put it behind us and keep competing.”
    Throughout the middle third of the game, the Devils took control of the midfield battle and pressed into Panther territory, but never came up with a great scoring chance.
    Tori Thompson shot from 25 yards out late in the first half and Lakeside keeper Meredith Stanley bobbled the ball, but was able to recover before more Devil offense arrived.
    Midway through the second half, Statesboro was hampered offensively when Thompson went down on a cross and was forced out of the game for nearly 20 minutes with a leg injury.
    “That definitely hurt,’ said Thomas. “We had some younger girls step up and play well, but we missed having Tori’s experience in the game.”
    Despite allowing two goals, Patterson had one of her best showings of the season in net for the Devils.
    Patterson saved nine shots — including a pair of diving stops - and helped to keep Statesboro in the game throughout much of the second half.
    “Makayla played great tonight,” said Thomas. “She was on top of her game. I couldn’t be more proud of her effort.”
    Awarded a throw-in in the waning minutes, Statesboro pressed its players forward, but Lakeside gained control and mounted a counter attack.
    With only three defenders back, Coleman was able to dribble down the right side and make her way into the box for the put away strike.

Lakeside 4, Statesboro 3

    There were fireworks aplenty in the second game of the night, but the Lakeside boys were able to cap the sweep of Statesboro with a 4-3 victory on penalty kicks.
    Trailing 3-2 late in the second half, Adam Purvis was taken down in the Lakeside box and David Ball sent home a penalty kick to tie it up, but neither team could break through from there and a winner wasn’t declared until the Panthers gained a 5-3 edge in penalty kicks after two overtime periods.
    Alan Rodriguez started the scoring with a goal in the 10th minute, but the Panthers came back to take the lead on goals by Daniel N’Sougan and Matt Tran.
    Gray Downs brought the Devils back to even with 3:33 to go in the first half, but N’Sougan struck again just 15 seconds later.
    In the penalty shootout, each side saw its first three players find the back of the net. Brennen Canada put Lakeside ahead, 4-3 when Zach McClendon missed high and right for Statesboro.
    Colby Ellis sent one final kick into the left side of the goal to clinch the win for the Panthers.

    Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.