The Effingham County Lady Rebels soccer team shook off a loss to Ware County the night before to sweep their season series with South Effingham on Saturday.
Barely more than 15 hours after falling 2-0 to the Lady Gators in a Region 3-AAAA matchup — a loss that secured third place for Ware in 3-AAAA South and fourth for the Lady Rebels — they topped their in-county rivals 4-0 at The Corral.
Effingham (5-7) put the game away with two late first-half goals. Kaitlynn Kruse, set up by Lauren Spradley, made it 2-0 with a goal with 2:43 remaining in the half.
Korie Van Curen scored a minute later, pulling Lady Mustangs keeper Melissa Wilkins out after a long run and tapping a shot into the open net.
“They worked together, and that showed,” Lady Rebels coach Mike Baczynski said. “They made good combinations, they were making good passes and they were finishing it off.”
Sydnie Van Curen celebrated her 15th birthday by scoring twice. She started off with a goal in the opening moments of the game on an assist from Korie Van Curen to put the Lady Rebels ahead 1-0.
Lady Rebels keeper Kristin Burgsteiner stopped South Effingham’s Lindsey Brichacek after a long run with 27 minutes to go in the half. Lady Mustangs keeper Melissa Wilkins snared Tiffany Johnson’s bullet from 20 yards out to keep the Lady Mustangs within one goal.
Wilkins, pressed into service in the Lady Mustangs’ loss Wednesday night to the Lady Rebels when backup keeper Allyson Smith was hurt, played well as South Effingham’s third-string keeper.
“She’s learned a lot in two days,” South Effingham coach Kendrick Buckner said. “We’re proud of her.”
South Effingham (1-9-1) had a chance to get on the board early in the second half as Ashlynn Sullivan was fouled in the box. But Katie Pittman’s penalty kick try went wide right.
Baczynski even juggled his lineup, pulling Burgsteiner out of goal with 15 minutes left and putting her in at forward with 3 minutes to go.
Sydnie Van Curen’s second tally of the game, with 55 seconds remaining, capped the scoring.
Buckner said her Lady Mustangs played better Saturday afternoon than they did in Wednesday night’s 5-0 loss to the Lady Rebels, but there is still plenty of work to do.
“There are so many little things, the first touches, making good decisions and communicating,” she said. “That’s basic stuff that if we had it, we would be so much better.”
The Lady Rebels are finished with the regular season and are awaiting to see who their first-round region playoff opponent will be.
The Lady Mustangs will host Bluffton (S.C.) Tuesday at 5 p.m.