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Evans nips SEHS girls’ soccer team in OT
Giada Tamargo
South Effingham's Giada Tamargo converts a penalty kick late in the second half to tie the match against Evans Feb. 23. The Knights won in overtime 4-2. (Mark Lastinger for the Effingham Herald.)

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

GUYTON – For 40 minutes, South Effingham’s girls had the edge in statistics and, more importantly, the edge on the scoreboard in their soccer match with Evans Friday night.

But the Mustangs couldn’t hold down Knights’ junior forward Wren Chochol forever.

Chochol scored three goals – two in overtime – and assisted on another as South fell to Evans 4-2 in a key Region 2-6A matchup.

The Mustangs (2-3, 1-2 Region 2-6A) dropped percentage points behind Evans (3-3, 2-3) in the battle for fourth place (and a spot in the state playoffs) in the region standings.

“We were proud of the girls’ effort. They hung tough,” SEHS coach Kate Blaske said. “Nobody gave up. Nobody put their head down. It’s a learning experience and we’ll see (Evans) again.”

The Mustangs saw more than enough of Chochol, who has scored 10 goals in six games this season. Her second goal of the game at 7:53 of the first 10-minute overtime period broke a 2-2 deadlock. She added another goal about four minutes later to give the Knights some breathing room.

Early on, South had the better of play with a 3-1 advantage in shots on goal during the first half.

Sophomore Braelyn Holt converted a scoring opportunity with 11:20 left in the half to give the Mustangs the lead.

But Evans roared back. A sign of things to come came in the opening minute of the second half when Chochol weaved through the defense and unleashed a blast that hit the post.

About four minutes later, Knights’ Jalin Souza knotted the game after a feed from Chochol.

Chochol’s first goal put Evans ahead 2-1 about five minutes later at 31:52.

It was an up-and-down performance the Knights have duplicated during the season. They lost to Effingham County 2-1 in overtime on Feb. 13. Three days later, seven different players scored in an 8-1 victory over the Rebels.

“(Chochol’s) tough. They have some good players, for sure,” Blaske said.

South struggled to mount an offense in the second half, but caught a break when a Mustang was pulled down in the penalty box with 6:57 to go. The foul resulted in a penalty kick and junior Giada Tamargo coolly converted the kick to tie the match 2-2.

“(The penalty kick) motivated them, but the nerves (in overtime played a big factor). We just have to settle in,” Blaske said.

Chochol and her teammates dominated overtime. They finished with a 10-2 advantage in shots on goal after the first-half intermission.

South goalie Valencia Collins made six of her seven saves in the second half and overtime.

SEHS’ girls have a key portion of the schedule upcoming. The Mustangs travel to Springfield to play rival Effingham County on Feb. 27. Home matches with Lakeside (Friday, March 1), Glynn Academy (Tuesday, March 5) and Grovetown (Friday, March 8) – the top three girls' teams in the region standings – follow.