Statesboro coach Brian Thomas thought he had the speed advantage with his forwards, and with a late burst, he was right.
After trailing by a goal, the Lady Blue Devils soccer team rallied to win 3-1 on Thursday evening at Richmond Academy in a Region 3-AAAA Tournament semifinal.
“I felt we could get behind them – our forwards have a lot of speed,” Thomas said. “We’ve got three girls that can rotate up top who can run fast.”
Tess Newton scored back-to-back goals to give Statesboro (9-6) the 2-1 lead after Richmond Academy got the initial tally less than eight minutes into the second half.
With the Lady Musketeers (11-6) searching for the tying goal – and challenging keeper Destiny Lanier with accurate but far off shots – Statesboro got more space with the third goal.
As the ball bounced following a long kick, Emmalyne Sisson hurried after it, beating defenders and then the goalie.
The four-goal half was a big change from the first, as neither team scored. But there were good looks for both.
Richmond Academy’s Elizabeth Mundell chased down a sprinting Statesboro player to halt one chance, taking possession in the process. Tori Thompson did get a shot not much later, but her attempt wasn’t close.
Lady Musketeers keeper Hannah Ardrey made some important stops while the game remained deadlocked. After a Statesboro free kick just outside the box hit the crossbar, Ardrey stopped one shot low and then quickly picked up the rebound.
Not all the chances belonged to Statesboro, though, with Mundell floating one on goal to force a Lanier save.
Those opportunities turned into goals in the second half, though the Lady Blue Devils had a monopoly by getting three of the four.
“We’ve got two more games to play,” Richmond Academy coach Kevin Scheyer said, referring to the game for third place in the region and the first-round state playoff game. “We’ve still got games to win. You don’t stop just because you don’t get a fancy trophy.”