The 2008 regular season had gotten off to a rough start for the Effingham County boys soccer team. The region schedule began in much better fashion.
Dimitri Hill’s crossing attempt deflected in off a Brunswick defender, and the Rebels defense made that lone goal stand up in a 1-0 win over the Pirates in the Region 3-AAAA opener Tuesday night at Rebel Field.
“They kept the pressure up, and they stepped to the ball better,” coach Mike Baczynski said of his team. “They controlled the flow of the game a lot better. We created a lot of options. We just didn’t finish a lot of them. But you’ve got to create them first.”
The score Hill set up came as part of string of strong scoring chances for the Rebels (1-2), which included two shots that sailed just over the net. Baczynski said Hill’s shot might have gone in anyway.
“We’ll take the win any way we can get it,” he said.
After the Rebels went up 1-0 with 4:56 to go in the first half, Hill nearly extended the lead to 2-0 as his shot from right in front of the right post squeezed through the keeper’s grasp. But it bounced along the goal line, and the Pirates defense cleared it out of danger before the Rebels could finish off the play.
The Pirates had their share of chances against Rebels keeper Caleb Grovenstein. Carson Martin fired from 25 yards out on a breakaway, a chance Grovenstein handled easily. Grovenstein also had saves on a pair of shots from Corey Orr and turned Martin away again with less than 25 minutes to play.
“He played a good game,” Baczynski said of his keeper. “He had a rough game Friday (a 10-0 loss to Statesboro), but he got that out of his head.”
Baczynski has a vastly younger team this year, having graduated 11 seniors off last year’s roster.
“We’ve got a lot of youth,” he said. “A lot of guys are stepping up and playing good ball. A lot of freshmen and sophomores are getting a lot of playing time.”