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Effingham County girls lacrosse team showing improvement
Audrey Ubernosky
Effingham County’s Audrey Ubernosky (left) fires the ball into the net against Grovetown on Friday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

 SPRINGFIELD — Effingham County’s girls lacrosse team appears to have turned a corner, exiting a bumpy learning path to enter a course of competitiveness.

After dropping their season opener against Greenbrier 17-12, the Rebels have won four straight matches, outscoring their opponents 60-15 in the process. Effingham County won only four matches in its first two years.

“I think they have definitely exceeded our expectations,” first-year head coach Amber Roe said. “We knew we were going to do well but I don’t think we knew it was going to happen this quick. We are about halfway through the season right so — being that we have made it this far this quickly — we hope we can build off this.”

Roe deflected credit for the improvement. She pointed at the players instead.

“A lot of the girls have been putting in a lot of work in the offseason and that has really helped us,” Roe said.  “We got a lot of new girls, too, and they picked up the game very quickly.”

After watching some of the newcomers at tryouts, Roe was prompted to ask  them if they had played lacrosse before. She was surprised to discover that they are novices.

Roe worked with the team last summer. Her contact was limited, however, because she also coaches basketball at Effingham County Middle School. 

“I think the girls have bought into what we are doing. I think that’s the reason for the improvement,” Roe said. 

Roe was impressed with her team’s defense in Thursday’s 10-5 victory over Grovetown.

“That last couple weeks, that’s really what we have been stressing,” she said. “We’ve been stressing communication on defense and moving our feet. We didn’t put up a lot of goals (against Grovetown) but I would say our defense is what won it for us.

“The players were moving quicker and they were moving together.”

Thanks in part to the stellar play of goalkeeper Alaiina Garcia, the Rebels were successful in achieving their goal of surrendering no more than five goals to Grovetown. They were seriously tested, however, in the closing minutes as the Warriors mounted a mini rally.

“One of the things we wanted to work on was possession (of the ball),” Roe said. “I think we did that really well toward the end. There is not shot clock in high school girls lacrosse so you can possess the ball.

“It kind of came down to them keeping their composure and moving the ball around. We really hadn’t been in that type of situation before.

“Last year, there were a couple games that we lost by quite an bit and a couple that we won by quite a bit. It was good for them to be in that situation where you were up by only a couple goals. (Grovetown) could have come back but the girls stuck together and made it happen.”

The Rebels’ offense was led by Audrey Ubernosky.

“She did it on both ends of the field,” Roe said. “Her biggest thing, for me, was coming up with the draw controls. If you are coming up with those faceoffs, that’s a possession and that’s going to lead to a goal.

“I think she had four or five goals last night. Between her and our entire defensive unit, I think that’s what got us the win.”