Thursday was the first day of spring break for Effingham County schools. South Effingham girls soccer Kendrick Buckner wondered if her team got a head start on their respite.
The Lady Mustangs had no problem beating the Liberty County Lady Panthers 8-0 Thursday afternoon at Freedom Field in Hinesville. That didn’t make their first-year coach any happier about their performance.
“I felt they were already in spring break mode,” she said. “It was hard to get them to focus.”
It didn’t help matters that the Lady Mustangs (6-5-3 overall, 2-4 Region 3-AAA South) were playing a team they beat 11-0 two and a half weeks ago. Figuring Liberty would be an easy victory again also played a part in an effort Bucker found wanting.
“That’s why they didn’t play as well as they should have,” she said.
Yet the Lady Mustangs still controlled the play from the start. Playing on a field that wasn’t as wide as they are used to — Liberty County High is building its own football field and the current field used by both high schools in Liberty County is getting new bleachers installed — posed problems all game long, too.
“I wanted them to be better at consecutive passing,” Buckner said. “It was so compacted, we weren’t comfortable. They had two or three girls on us if we held the ball for very long at all. Three-on-one is pretty hard to get through.”
Crystal Sellers got the Lady Mustangs on the board after several early chances were turned aside. Loralee Powell ripped a direct kick from 35 yards out after a hand ball for a 2-0 lead. Sellers set up Powell for the third goal, with Powell finishing a long run that started midfield before scoring.
The Lady Mustangs had two shots clang off the posts and were called for nearly a dozen offsides. They finally began to get things untracked late in the second half.
Sellers made it 4-0 after knocking in a rebound after a Powell shot was stopped. Megan Burchette’s long pass led to Lindsey Brichachek’s goal for a 5-0 margin, and Sellers netted her third goal on Powell’s corner kick.
Brichachek netted the final two goals in rapid succession, scoring on an easy breakaway and then converting the rebound of T.J. Raines’ shot.
Meanwhile, South Effingham Brittany Way had little to do, with Lady Mustang defenders routinely able to chase down any Lady Panther who broke through.
The Lady Mustangs will play for a spot in the state playoffs against Thomson on the road on Tuesday.