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South Effingham sweeps SHS soccer
SHS soccer
Statesboro High's Helen Gutierrez, left, battles with South Effingham's Madison Bennett during the second half Tuesday. South Effingham's girls and boys each scored victories as the Mustangs pulled off a road sweep of the Devils in region play.

The Statesboro girls soccer team lost earlier this season 3-1 to South Effingham. Tuesday night was unfortunately deja vu for the Lady Devils, as a late first half Mustang goal proved to be the difference in a 3-1 region loss.

“Give credit to South Effingham. They played really well tonight,” said Statesboro coach Nick Thrower. “They played with class, and took advantage of the few opportunities they had.”

The Blue Devils (4-2 Region 2-AAAAA) missed a few chances early on as they were unable to take advantage of three different corner kicks in the first 10 minutes of play. The Mustangs started the scoring as Statesboro goalkeeper Morgan Host made a nice deflection, but it would go right to South Effingham’s Amber Whitten who scored easily for a 1-0 Mustang lead at the 24:30 mark.

Exactly one minute after the Mustangs scored, the Blue Devils answered. Helen Gutierrez made a great crossing pass to Katelyn Carter about 10 yards in front of the goal. Carter’s shot deflected off of the Mustangs' Katelyn Ladner, right back to Carter, who blasted it past the goalkeeper for the score to tie the game at 1-1.

With 16:15 left in the half South Effingham regained the lead. On a Mustang breakaway it looked as though the Blue Devil defensive players thought the ball was out of bounds, and stopped playing. The Mustangs Whitten kept playing, and tucked the ball in the corner of the goal for a 2-1 lead which would hold through halftime.

“It was unfortunate, but we always tell the girls to play until the whistle, “Thrower said. “We tried a few new formations tonight that I hope we can continue to build on for the rest of the year.

The Blue Devils controlled the ball for much of the second half, but were unable to score. They had a couple of great opportunities late in the game as Gutierrez hit the post on a shot from the left side, which deflected over to Tanner Kaiser who hit the crossbar and the ball bounced out of bounds.

“We had a couple chances there late in the game,” Thrower said. “That’s the name of this game though. It is both fair and unfair at times.”

Morgan Host made a few good saves in the second half, but the Mustangs added a late goal on a great pass from Ladner to Alyssa LeTourneau, who put it past Host for the final goal of the game and a 3-1 South Effingham victory.

South Effingham 4, Statesboro 1

The Statesboro Blue Devil boys soccer team was looking to avenge a 5-4 loss earlier this season in Guyton. The Blue Devils were able to hang with the Mustangs for the first half, as the game was tied 1-1. South Effingham was able to add three second half goals, and shut the Blue Devil offense down as they won 4-1.

“I think we played pretty well in the first half, as we went in tied,” said Statesboro coach David Ball. “The second half we got derailed, we stopped playing as a team, and it was very frustrating.”

The Mustangs controlled the ball for most of the first half, and finally got into the scoring column at the 25:23 mark in the first half. Statesboro goalkeeper Chandler Cowart tackled South Effingham’s Anthony Betancio in the box which resulted in a penalty kick. Jaydon Parrish then scored on the penalty kick for a 1-0 Mustang lead.

The Blue Devils scored the equalizer in similar fashion. With 7:10 left in the half Statesboro’s Nash Welch was tackled in the box. Ethan Harrison would then convert on the penalty kick, tying the game at 1-1.

The score could have been a lot higher in the first half if not for some great saves in goal by Statesboro’s Cowart, and Liam Rickman of South Effingham.

The Mustangs were able to retake the lead early in the second half. A nice pass across the field found Ashton Meador who chipped the ball nicely over a leaping Cowart into the net for a 2-1 lead with 33:45 left in the game.

South Effingham put things away with 13:45 left in the game, as Parrish blew past the Statesboro defense and tucked a shot into the back of the net. He’d add another to finish with a hat trick, scoring with just over a minute left in the game for the final score of 4-1.

“When we played as team like we did much of the first half I liked the way things looked,” Ball said. “The second half we just got lazy, stopped hustling for the ball, and that’s what happens.”

The Statesboro boys fall to 2-4 in region play. The Devils next travel to New Hampstead for another region doubleheader. The girls game is scheduled for 5 p.m., with the boys starting at 7 p.m.