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Rebels, Mustangs set for Friday soccer clash
Grant Oliver
The Rebels’ Grant Oliver advances the ball against Glynn Academy on Friday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

SPRINGFIELD — Who’s that man in the hoody, most likely taking some mental notes for an upcoming soccer match of particular local interest?

“I knew he was coming. That’s all right, I’ve been to three of their games,” said Effingham County boys soccer coach Austin Czachowski about the presence of South Effingham boys’ coach DaKota Paradice at the Rebels’ game against Glynn Academy on Friday.

Czachowski and his inexperienced group (starting four freshmen) competed well against the defending Region 2-AAAAAA champion Red Terrors and now turn their attention to the cross-county rivalry against the Mustangs.

The ECHS-SEHS girls match kicks off this Friday at 5 p.m. at Rebel Field with the boys match following at 7.

“It is what it is,” Czachowski said. “It’s the rival game, so it means a little more to the kids. But for us, we’ve got to get better.”

Conspicuous onlookers and some not-so-conspicuous onlookers saw the freshman goalie Michael Deien keep the Rebels close with 13 saves, including one off his face that stopped play in the second half while he was checked as part of concussion protocol by the medical staff.

For nearly 31 minutes, the match was scoreless before Glynn pulled ahead with two goals in a 22-second span.

ECHS (2-2, 0-2) had a few chances to break the shutout, including Ben Wroley’s one-on-one opportunity against goalie Durham Daniel in the second half, but Daniel smothered the shot at the top of the box.

“We played pretty well considering we went toe to toe with the giant in the region,” Czachowski said.

The ECHS girls (2-3, 1-1) had flashes of good moments as well despite a 10-0 setback to the undefeated Glynn girls.

At halftime, the Rebels trailed just 3-0.

But ECHS suffered a big blow when its all-region goalie Dayanara Figueroa suffered a right leg injury in the 17th minute as she left the goal line to make a sliding tackle to thwart a Glynn scoring chance.

“Hopefully, everyone gets rested up, healed up and ready to play,” girls interim coach Tara Aiken said. “I feel like we’re playing well together as a team. We’ll get there.”

South Effingham boys and girls teams entered the week undefeated heading into Tuesday matches against Glynn.

The Mustang boys (4-0) have registered three shutouts while outscoring teams (16-1) and the girls (3-0) have outscored their opponents 22-3.

Last season, the SEHS boys swept the two-game series with ECHS 3-1 (in overtime) and 4-2.

The Rebel girls took two from SEHS, 3-1 and 2-1.