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SEB, Screven head to first round of state
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    BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch Lady Yellow Jackets are in the state playoffs for the first time since 2005, and to add to the excitement, five SEB soccer players — including two brothers and two sisters — were named to the Class AA/A All-Area 3 team.
    Senior Morgan Jones and her sister Kacey were placed on the team together. Morgan led the Jackets with 22 goals and nine assists. Her 22 goals in the 2007 season put her career total at 89. She will be playing soccer for Presbyterian College in the fall during its first season as an NCAA Division I team.
    Southeast Bulloch keeper Kacey made the All-Area squad while racking up 151 saves and four shutouts. She also chalked in with one assist when she launched the ball across the field to waiting sister Morgan who punched it in for one of her 22 goals. The sisters led the team to a record of 6-3-1, and they were glad they could do it together.
    “I always hate leaving my sister out,” said the elder Jones. “I’m glad when we do something, we do it together. It just makes me fell happy about it, especially during my last year.”
    Teammate Christina Finnegan also made the All-Area team by putting up six goals and adding four assists in 2007. Honorable Mentions for SEB were Ashlin Reid and Shelby Sanders.
    On the boy’s side, Anthony Lynch and Corey Nettles were another goal scoring/goal keeping pair of siblings who helped to lead the Yellow Jackets. Lynch led the SEB boys with 13 goals and nine assists, and brother Nettles protected the goal with 83 saves. Ian Foster achieved Honorable Mention for his eight goals and seven assists.
    The Lady Jackets don’t have much time to celebrate the achievements of their teammates as they start the state playoffs today on the road against No.1 seed Thomasville (11-3) at 4:30 p.m.
    “We know that (Thomasville has) a good record,” said SEB coach Aimee Civalier. “They’re used to winning — they’ve won five area titles in a row. The good thing about it is that they’re not in a strong area like we are… We had to play Brantley County (from Thomasville’s area — Area 2-AA/A) a couple of years ago and they wound up being the No. 2 seed. We tied them, so we feel like we have a good opportunity to match up with (Thomasville).”
    As for Jones, she feels the pressure from the fact that each game from here on could be her last as a Yellow Jacket.
    “It puts more pressure on not only me and my sister, our other captain,” said Jones, “but it puts a lot of pressure on our coaches knowing that if we lose — we go home.”

Lady Gamecocks ready for state
    The last time the Screven County Lady Gamecocks made the state playoffs was 2004 — only the school’s second year of soccer — and the freshmen from that team have returned to state to finish what they started. Practice over the past week has focused on fixing the problems from the last two region playoff games.
    “We practiced very hard,” said SCHS coach Terry Markovcic. “It was probably the toughest week of practice we’ve had all year… The last two games we lost by two goals each to end the region playoff. In each game, we either kicked it right to the goalie or were too wide and we over-compensated. If we can get some of these shots to fall (today) hopefully we’ll be okay.”
    The Gamecocks are led by team-leading scorer Randi Brown as they take on No. 1 seed Eagle’s Landing Christian Acadesmy on the road today at 4:30 p.m.
    “(Eagle’s Landing) has three really good teams in their region (Area 1-AA/A),” Markovcic said. “Their 8-6 record is a little deceiving. It’s going to be a quality opponent.”

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.