Region 3-AAAA Tournament
(3) Statesboro at (2) Glenn Hills
(4) Cross Creek at (1) Statesboro
It’s been an up-and-down season for the oft-injured Lady Blue Devils of Statesboro, but the picture is clear as the Region 3-AAAA soccer tournament begins today.
One win, and the Devils will go dancing in the state playoffs.
Statesboro (4-9, 2-4) finished third in its sub-region and travels to Augusta today to take on Glenn Hills, No. 2 seed out of north sub-region, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
The Devils had a solid start to the season, but fell victim to the injury bug for the second consecutive year. As Statesboro scrambled to mix in its youth and switch experienced players into new positions, the win-loss record took a hit.
“It’s tough anytime you have to deal with injuries,” SHS coach Brian Thomas said. “The good news is that we’re as healthy as we’ve been all year.”
With a seasoned group of girls filling out the roster, Thomas also knows that a season’s worth of struggles can easily be turned around by a survive-and-advance playoff game.
“Knowing what’s at stake helps you forget about the past. We know what’s on the line and what we need to do.”
The Spartans boast several front line players with the athleticism to turn any counter attack into a scoring opportunity. Statesboro will counter with a back line that will field its original starting lineup for the first time in over a month.
On the offensive end for the Devils Chelsea Wilson and Emeline Sisson will look to give Statesboro the edge.
Offense has come at a premium for the Devils this season as Reagan Thomas is again sidelined with an injury and the scoring efforts of the graduated Tori Thompson have been sorely missed.
Regardless, the Devils still know that they’re in a position to keep their season alive so long as they continue to win.
“It’s just a matter of executing our game plan,” Brian Thomas said. “We’re confident that we can continue to win and advance if we can do that.”
SHS boys still have work to do
The Statesboro boys soccer team knew that this was the year they’d have to make their move if they wanted to have a big showing.
With 13 seniors playing their final season for the Devils, they have made good on their potential. Statesboro sits at 11-2 overall and is a top seed in the region tournament as Cross Creek comes to town Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. start time.
The Blue Devils cruised to a 5-1 record in sub-region play and now face the No. 4 Razorbacks who haven’t been nearly as impressive.
“We know that they’ve struggled a little,” SHS coach Nick Thrower said. “But we also haven’t seen any tape and haven’t heard many reports on them.”
Despite the mismatch on paper, Statesboro still must win in order to clinch a state playoff berth and move into the region semifinals.
“The guys know what’s at stake,” Thrower said. “We haven’t addressed it much. Everyone knows what needs to be done.”
The winner of Wednesday’s game will take on either Wayne County or Hephzibah on Friday for the right to play for the region championship.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.