AIKEN - The unbeatable boys in green showed a bit of rust in their game Tuesday.
An interstate trip to South Aiken almost proved too much for Greenbrier. The Wolfpack (14-0) showed the effects of a long Masters-induced spring break layoff against the defending South Carolina High School League Class AAAA champions, but still won, 2-0.
"We looked like a team that hadn't touched a soccer ball for a while there at times tonight," Greenbrier coach Chip Warren said. "The layoff hurt. I thought we still controlled the game. Not practicing for 10 days or touching a ball had an effect on us."
Greenbrier was also minus one of their top players. Sophomore forward Pieter James missed the match serving the first of a two-game suspension for drawing a red card in the team's last game against Richmond Academy.
"It was just a combination of a lot of things," Greenbrier junior Brooks Duff said. "Not being together over the past week. There were a few of us that didn't touch a soccer ball over our spring break. It just looked like all of us were just trying to get back in the groove of things tonight."
The Wolfpack didn't play the part of a squad that moved up to 13th in the nation in the National Soccer Coaches Association/Adidas National Soccer rankings this week. Greenbrier, which also ranks No. 1 in Class AAAA, struggled to only eight shots on goal and only four shots on goal during the first half.
"Passing it and moving the ball through the midfield is where we struggled," Duff said. "We really had problems finishing. But South Aiken, that's a good club. That was probably a bit of them to go along with us being off a bit."
Duff scored the final goal of the contest with less than 40 seconds to go.
Greenbrier sophomore Clay Carswell had given his team the first score of the night with 7:28 to play in the match.
South Aiken (11-4) was without its share of players. Star striker Jamal Geathers still did not suit up for the Thoroughbreds.
The South Carolina commitment still is recovering from a knee injury.
"I'm going crazy not getting a chance to pitch in and help my boys out there," Geathers said. "It's been eight weeks now. I'm going to see if I can get clearance to go full-speed in games this week from my doctor and my club coach. I should be back for our region game next Tuesday. Or at least I am going to try to be."
South Aiken also played it close to the vest with its top players with region play coming up. Once a starter received a yellow card, he was pulled for the remainder of the game.
There was a moment in the second half in which South Aiken had four starters sitting with the game still tied at zero.
"I'm real proud of the effort and the intensity level our young guys played at while we had most of our firepower on the bench," South Aiken coach Paul Waters said. "Greenbrier is the best team we've seen. We had not faced a team with their tempo, their talent, hustle and overall firepower. I know Greenbrier was missing one of their weapons tonight, too. I'm really pleased, though."
Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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