By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
SPRINGFIELD — The soccer season crossed the midpoint for the Effingham County boys and girls teams Friday night, magnifying each remaining Region 2-AAAAAA game.
The Rebel boys were looking to extend a two-game winning streak. The girls wanted to snap a two-game losing skid.
Both mini streaks ended. The ECHS girls used a big second half to pull away from Statesboro 5-0, while the boys couldn’t find the back of the net during a 1-0 loss to the Blue Devils.
It was a strong performance for the Rebel girls (4-6, 3-4 Region 2-AAAAAA) who have struggled offensively at times.
But freshman Rachel Reagan (two goals and an assist) and junior Inessa Brackbill (a goal and two assists) came up big.
“They worked really well tonight,” ECHS coach Tara Aiken said. “They stepped up and made some good passes that led to scores.”
Reagan’s cross off a corner kick was headed into the goal by Darby Mingledorff for the first goal midway through the first half.
At 23:15 of the second half, Corinne Mitchell tapped in Brackbill’s shot to make it 2-0.
Then, Reagan and Brackbill accounted for the final three goals during the last 18:10.
Sophomore goalie Dayanara Figueroa made the lead stand up. She registered only five saves, but often aggressively strayed from the net to clear potential Statesboro scoring opportunities.
She preserved the shutout in the 65th minute with a leaping, one-handed deflection that then hit the crossbar after a straight-on blast.
“(Figueroa) is a phenomenal goalie and she works hard at it,” Aiken said. “She’s saved us a lot.”
In the boys game, a goal by Nassim Edwards in the game’s eighth minute gave Statesboro its edge in an evenly played contest.
The Rebels (4-7, 2-5) entered the game with consecutive wins against Bradwell Institute and Richmond Hill.
They outshot the Blue Devils 5-2 in the second half while applying pressure looking for the equalizer. ECHS’ senior midfielder Grant Oliver might have had his squad’s best chance in the 73rd minute but his 25-yard blast was turned aside and the rebound was cleared out of the box.
“Obviously, it’s not the result you want,” ECHS boys coach Austin Czachowski said. “I felt like we had opportunities. We had some good shots. Like one of my players was saying, one mistake and that’s the game. You have to learn how to cut out the small things that make that mistake.”