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South Effingham sweeps Effingham County
Chase Hoffman
Mustangs goalkeeper Chase Hoffman braces for a shot by the Rebels on Friday at Rebel Field. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
Anna Dorch
South Effingham’s Anna Dorch (1) scoots past Effingham County goalie Dayanara Figueroa in the first half Friday. Abbi Jones prevented a score on the play. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

SPRINGFIELD — South Effingham soccer goalie Chase Hoffman said a nerve wracking penalty-kick showdown with Effingham County on Friday night brought out the best in his team.

“Everyone was calm and collected, everyone believed in each other,” Hoffman said.

And what about the senior goalie? A little fidgity, maybe?

“Not at all,” said Hoffman, pointing to his coach DaKota Paradice. “This man right here taught me how to cool my head.”

And cooler heads prevailed during the extended night. Hoffman turned aside the sixth Rebel shooter as the Mustangs walked off with a win, 2-2, 5-4 in penalty kicks, over ECHS.

“There’s no better feeling than saving that PK. It made my week, it really did,” Hoffman said.

One hundred minutes of soccer — two 40-minute halves, then two 10-minute overtime periods — and a five-man round of penalty kicks couldn’t decide a winner.

“I played goalie (in high school at Vidalia) and it’s not nervewracking at that point in the game because all the goalie has to do is his job. It’s fun,” Paradice said.

In the decisive second round, Hoffman guessed right and batted down a shot destined for the left corner of the net, making John Ibarra’s successful kick the game winner.

Rebels goalie Michael Deien had nine saves before penalty kicks, but a giveaway by his defense led to a tap-in goal by Gage Harris which loomed large.

Harris finished with two goals. Javier Espin poked in a shot after a perfectly placed 45-yard cross from Grant Oliver on a free kick to tie the game 1-1 less than three minutes into the second half.

And after SEHS went ahead 2-1 on Harris’ second goal at 33:18, ECHS’ Guillermo Mendoza got the equalizer about 14 minutes later.

“I’m disappointed,” Rebels coach Austin Czachowski said. “I thought we out-possessed them. We moved the ball around and had good opportunities. It was that one bad mistake.”

SEHS girls roll 

South Effingham junior forward Anna Dorch shouldn’t let a Leon Lett moment ruin her outstanding night against rival Effingham County.

Dorch’s two second-half goals were instrumental in the 3-0 win.

“She’s so fast and she’s using that speed to her advantage. She’s taking her touch to the net,” SEHS coach Amanda Johnson said.

And the Dorch-led Mustangs have made a pretty fast charge toward a turnaround season. SEHS won only four games a year ago, but already have a 4-1 record this season — the only blemish was a loss in penalty kicks to undefeated Glynn Academy.

ECHS slipped to 2-4, but showed a lot of determination when Abbi Jones ran down Dorch, who had made a move around Rebels goalie Dayanara Figueroa about 15 yards outside the goalmouth and was ready to walk the ball into the goal.

Jones caught up with the unaware Dorch a few feet before the goal line and tackled the ball away.

It was reminiscent of Don Bebee’s famous hustling play against Lett in Super Bowl XXVII in 1993.

ECHS had few offensive highlights. Kylee Anderson scored SEHS’ first goal on a free kick from about 35 yards in the 26th minute. Anderson also had two second-half assists.

“They were more physical and they were faster,” ECHS coach Tara Aiken said. “We didn’t play our best.”