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Record offensive outburst sign of improvement for South girls lacrosse
Chloe Turner
South Effingham’s Chloe Turner (30) prepares to launch a shot over the head of the Savannah Christian goalie during a March 23 match at The Corral. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

 GUYTON — It wasn’t just a victory for coach Christine Knapp and her South Effingham girls lacrosse team. It was a historic achievement.

The Mustangs netted a school-record for goals during their March 23 home match against Savannah Christian, prevailing 28-11. The outburst powered them to their first two-game winning streak in the program’s three years.

“We beat Savannah Christian about two weeks ago 19-6,” Knapp said.

South Effingham didn’t win at all during its inaugural campaign. It season was limited to five matches because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last season, the Mustangs finished 1-10 after scoring just 40 goals. Their victory, an 11-10 decision, was also against Savannah Christian.

“We have now beaten our wins record — two games,” Knapp said with a sheepish grin, “but I keep telling them, ‘It’s great to win a game but we have to progress. We have to keep getting better and wins will come with them.”

South Effingham is scoring at a much higher rate than in its first two seasons. It had already matched its 2021 total before exploding for 28 against the Raiders.

“The way that we keep them motivated is to keep telling them you have to go from game to game,” Knapp said. “How many points are we putting on the board. With each game, are we putting more points on the board or are we going backward

“That’s how we motivate them and, for the most part, it works. They see that we are putting more points on the board.”

The flow of the Mustangs’ offense has improved considerably. Their passes are crisper and much more likely to connect with their targets.

“There are a lot fewer balls on the ground,” Knapp  proudly said.

Knapp credits part of the improvement to the recent establishment of a junior varsity squad. 

“Now the varsity team can focus more on putting plays together and growing the current skills that they have,” she said. “With JV, we can start them with the basics and just getting them going.”

Six JV players were prompted for the March 23 contest.

“As they have picked up their skill and shown that they have an aptitude for the game, I bumped them up to varsity,” Knapp said.

The Mustang benefits from several multi-sport athletes. 

“We have Chloe (Turner), Jaden (Burns), Bailey (Kendziorski) and Sarah (Messex). They all play softball,” Knapp said. “Our cheerleaders are Ava (Sapp) and KK (Harris).”

Knapp said the versatile athletes picked up the concept of their new sports more easily than the others.

“Especially the softball players,” she said. “Other than Chloe, the is first year playing for our softball players. You saw them on the circle (against Savannah Christian) doing the draws and they scored quite a few goals.”

Turner led the way with a team-high eight goals in the rout of Savannah Christian. Messex and Anna Elliott were close behind.

Goalies Ravyn Anaya-Jones and Beka Edenfield led the defensive charge with 10 and eight saves, respectively.

“The girls are just really excited to play lacrosse,” Knapp said. “Everyone seems to enjoy it and has a lot of fun. That’s the reason the program is growing.

“... Having fun is the best way to win.”