Everything was going OK for Augusta State soccer coach Ron Keller on Friday. Then the news broke.
Senior forward Eddie Centurion was lost for the year with a fractured tibia.
Despite the injury, Augusta State has been able to pick up the pieces from last year's 6-12-2 disaster. The Jaguars (11-3, 2-1) play host to Lander at 3 p.m. today in the first of a four-game stretch of Peach Belt teams that will decide the fate of Augusta State's season.
"Right now, things are going pretty well," Keller said. "Every single game, it's always been someone different for us."
Newcomers Jason Schultz, Keith Borthwick and Jonathan Vick have been a pleasant surprise. Schultz, a freshman who won the Peach Belt Player of the Week earlier this season, leads the team with nine goals and 24 points. Borthwick is second in scoring with 20 points, while Vick adds 17.
"We're just real fortunate this year to have a real close-knit bunch of guys," junior midfielder Patrick Burke said. "Off the field last year some guys didn't get along. The majority of the guys didn't get along on the field."
In Augusta State's three losses, the team has failed to score a goal.
"We have up and down games," defender Richard Proctor said. "When we click, we're really good. When we don't, we struggle a lot."
"We have to score," Burke said. "Every game we've scored in, we've seemed to rally. Of course, it usually comes from our defense."
The Jaguars have outscored opponents 48-20 in 14 games, but Proctor said the team needs to get on the board early.
"If we don't score a goal in the first half, we begin pushing it, and people scurry out of position," he said. "Gaps start developing in the field, and we lose concentration.
"But if we score a goal in the first half, we're a difficult team to play with."
However, the season has had its share of deja vu. Midfielder Scott Montgomery, who missed most of last year with a broken leg he suffered in the third game, went down for four games with an injury. Also, Burke missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury, but should be ready today.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.
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