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Preview: SHS girls soccer healthy at right time

  Statesboro High School girls soccer coach Brian Thomas watched attentively as his team scrimmaged against each other one last time in the school’s gymnasium before the team’s big rematch against region foes Effingham County Monday afternoon.
    Effingham County bested the Lady Blue Devils in a 1-0 overtime victory March 6.
    Despite the loss, Coach Thomas said he’s confident that his team can pull out a victory and get back on the right track in the region standings.
    “I feel confident because we’re playing better. If we can stay healthy, I’m very optimistic about reaching our goals,” Thomas said.
    The Lady Blue Devils have three players, Morgan Boen, Chelsea Wilson and Regan Thomas coming back from injuries to join the squad in today’s game against Effingham County.
    The trio of SHS starters missed the first matchup against the Rebels in early March, and are expected to play in the rematch.
     “It’s a huge game for us,” Brian Thomas said. “Friday we play South Effingham at home and if we can win both those games we should finish second in the sub-region.”

What to watch:

    Watch the Lady Blue Devils offense versus the Rebels’ “sweeper” defense. The Rebels like to play in a man-to-man defense with a sweeper or free player who cleans up loose balls, said Coach Thomas.
    The sixth-year head coach of the Lady Blue Devils said he wants his team to take advantage of any and all scoring opportunities.
    “We just have to create more scoring opportunities. Granted this was during the stretch where we’ve had players out, but we need to get better at scoring,” Brian Thomas said. “We’ve been shut out a few times and we need to score more. We need to string together more passes and secure the ball more and finish off our chances.”
    The Lady Blue Devils spent approximately 30 minutes on Monday going over game film of Effingham County and its style of play.
SHS offense has been shut out four times this season.
    Regan Thomas, coming off two ACL injuries, said the team’s speed against the Rebels could make the difference in the game.
    “I know Effingham plays a man-to-man defense with a sweeper. We have a lot of speed up top and if we use our speed up top and man-mark that sweeper, I don’t think they have the skill in the back to keep up,” Regan Thomas said.

Who to watch:

    Wilson, Boen and Regan Thomas will be the players to watch in this game. Coach Thomas said the return of some of his more experienced players should give the lineup the boost it needs.
    “I think it was frustrating not being able to play and that definitely wasn’t ideal,” said Regan Thomas. “I think we have some great senior leadership and I’m glad some girls got experience when I was out.”
    The Lady Blue Devils will play the Rebels today at 5 p.m.