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NOTEBOOK: Martinez, Tormenta headed to USL W final
South Georgia Tormenta FC celebrates a 4-1 win over Greenville Liberty SC in Sunday’s USL W semifinal. Goalie Sydney Martinez is the third player from the right on the back row. (Credit: USL W)

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

Led by former Effingham County goalie Sydney Martinez and a stout defense, South Georgia Tormenta FC is one win away from a USL W championship in the league’s inaugural soccer season.

Martinez and the defense slowed down a pressuring attack before the Tormenta offense struck for three goals in a nine-minute span of the second half to defeat the Greenville Liberty SC 4-1 on Sunday night (July 18).

Tormenta will play Minnesota Aurora FC for the title.

It’s been a stellar summer for Martinez in a league that touts itself as an elite pre-professional pathway for women looking to build their careers.

Martinez, the team captain who will play her fifth year at the University of South Florida, surrendered only six goals in 11 starts during the regular season as Tormenta won the South Central Division with a 7-1-4 record.

In the first round of the eight-team USL W playoffs, she registered seven saves in a 1-0 win against undefeated FC Miami City.

Despite the lopsided final score, Greenville appeared to be a tougher test. The Liberty had the better of play during the final 25 minutes of the first half. Tormenta took a 1-0 lead on Remi Olalere’s goal after a corner kick in the 54th minute, but Greenville answered in the 66th minute and regained its momentum.

But high-scoring striker Amy Andrews put Tormenta back in front with a goal in the 69th minute, then she assisted on a goal four minutes later and scored her second goal of the game in the 78th minute.


Savannah State’s Newbill gets SIAC honors

Former-South Effingham defensive end standout Makenly Newbill, now a senior at Savannah State University, collected first-team All-SIAC preseason honors in a voting by league coaches and sports information directors July 13 at the SIAC Football Media Day.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder led SSU last season with 10 tackles for losses (29 tackles and 3.5 sacks overall) despite being slightly undersized on the line.

Newbill was a first-team, all-conference performer last season while contributing to a defense that ranked sixth among 169 Division II schools in total defense (249.8 yards a game), ninth in passing yards allowed (145.2 yards a game) and 19th in scoring defense (allowing 17.6 points a game).

Newbill was the conference’s Player of the Week after recording 2.5 tackles for losses, a sack and four total tackles in a 49-14 homecoming win against Clark Atlanta on Oct. 16.

At Media Day, the Tigers were picked to finish third in the SIAC’s East Division after going 8-2 and placing second in the division in 2021.


Local schools putting up shot clocks for basketball

The varsity basketball teams at Effingham County and South Effingham will be on the clock during the 2022-23 season.

Both schools have been installing their 35-second shot clocks recently. ECHS mounted its shot clock above the baskets in the main gym July 11. SEHS boys basketball coach Rico Campbell said shot clocks were up in the school’s auxiliary gym but only one of the two shots clocks were mounted in the main gym.

In 2020, the Georgia High School Association passed a proposal to use a shot clock for boys and girls varsity play. There was a three-year implementation period to ease into the new rule. This season, teams must shoot and at least hit the rim within 35 seconds or turn the ball over to their opponents.

The NBA has had a 24-second shot clock since the 1954-55 season and colleges began play with a shot clock (a 45-second clock) during the 1985-86 season.

Georgia became just the ninth state in the country to adopt the shot clock for high school play.