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Yellow Jackets rally for victory
seb seniors
Southeast Bulloch seniors Crystal Dowell, Ashley Clifton, Crystal Kalaani and Lauren Crosby pose after their 3-2 win over Screven County Thursday evening in Brooklet. - photo by MIKE ANTHONY/staff

            BROOKLET -- Just as they did three weeks ago, Screven County and Southeast Bulloch matched up in a tight game. While SEB came up just short in penalty kicks in Sylvania, the Lady Yellow Jackets got a measure of revenge Thursday evening, rallying late for a 3-2 victory at Fred Shaver Field.

            “We knew that we were in for a fight coming into the game,” said SEB coach Aimee Civalier. “We had gone to penalty kicks the last three times we played Screven, so I’m glad that we were able to get one in regulation.”

            The first half was tightly contested, but neither team was able to produce a good scoring opportunity.

            With just 30 seconds remaining in the opening half, an SEB handball in its own box awarded the Gamecocks a penalty kick, but Hayley Livingston fired wide right and the teams went to the half in a scoreless tie.

            “That was a big boost for us mentally,” said Civalier. “I thought we played pretty well in the first half. It would have been tough to give up a goal like that right before the half. When it came down to it, that was the difference in tonight’s game. We made our penalty kicks and Screven didn’t convert on theirs.”

            Screven finally broke through in the 43rd minute.

            A cross was sent in front of the SEB box, but three Yellow Jacket defenders were unable to handle the ball cleanly. Rochelle Shuman escaped with the ball and burst into the SEB box, sliding a low shot past Clifton for a 1-0 Gamecock lead.

            SEB bounced right back just two minutes later. The Jackets penetrated deep into Gamecock territory and Natanya Suarez was taken down just a few feet in front of the Screven goal.

            Senior forward Crystal Dowell was chosen to take the penalty kick, and she blasted it into the left corner, just past the arms of Gamecocks goalkeeper Jessica Markovcic, to knot up the score once again.

            Shuman – who already owns the Screven County career scoring record as a junior – struck again in the 47th minute as she lofted a shot from 25 yards out that snuck over the reach of Clifton and into the goal for a 2-1 Gamecock lead.

            With Screven controlling the play, it looked to be enough, but the Jackets unleashed a rally over the final 10 minutes.

            In the 70th minute, Markovcic punted a ball out of the Screven zone, but it was headed right back. The Gamecock keeper misplayed the hop, and Merekate Schlierf raced in behind her to bring the score even once again at 2-2.

            SEB notched the decisive goal three minutes later when Schlierf was taken down in the box for another Yellow Jacket penalty kick.

            Dowell once again lined it up and beat Markovcic in the exact same spot as her first strike.

            “I was glad to see us keep fighting,” said Civalier. “We got a little unlucky on (Screven’s) second goal. Ashley just lost it in the sun. We stayed focused though and got ourselves right back in the game.”

            Staked to its first lead, the SEB defense held tough and didn’t allow another shot as the remaining minutes ticked away.

            The win was a great way to send off Dowell, Clifton, Lauren Crosby and Crystal Kalaani – SEB’s four seniors – in their last home game.

            “I’m really proud of all that our seniors have given us,” said Civalier. “Scoring those two goals was a great way for Dowell to go out. We’re certainly going to miss all of them next season.”


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