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Lady Tigers hitting their stride with 3 big wins

Swainsboro High’s varsity girls soccer team is riding a high heading into this week’s matches, thanks to three big wins in the last two weeks. According to coach Chang Hua Lin, the team is hitting their stride as the latter part of their season approaches.

The first big win came on March 13 as the Lady Tigers took on Woodville-Tompkins. Lin says the girls had to dig deep for the win, and they rose to the challenge.

SHS scored first, but Woodville scored the equalizer shortly after. Late in the first half, Swainsboro scored the go-ahead goal and went into the half leading 2-1. The Lady Tigers picked up steam in the second half, taking control of the game by scoring 3 more goals, shutting out Woodville-Tompkins.

In her first start at forward, Jodie Hendrix had a breakout game with 2 goals and 1 assist. Hope Tant also had 2 goals. Crystal Hernandez had 1 goal and 1 assist.

With the 5-1 win against the Lady Wolverines, SHS moved to 4-7 for the season and 3-4 in region play.

The SHS boys were short handed and had to play with no substitutes, making for a grueling game. The Tigers fell 10-1.

Swainsboro’s girls carried that victorious momentum into a match-up against Vidalia on March 17. In a battle to the finish, the Lady Tigers beat their region rival 2-1.

Lin says the game went back and forth with both teams playing their hearts out. He allied it an “intense game from start to finish.”

Vidalia scored early in the game, just 3 minutes in. However, Swainsboro did not give up. Instead, Lin says they played one of their most complete games to date.

Phoebe Durden scored the equalizer goal just minutes after Vidalia struck first. During the second half, both teams gave everything they had. The game-winning goal was set up by Tant and finished by Hendrix. Tant broke through the Vidalia defense on the outside. After taking the ball deep into Vidalia territory, she cut back and crossed the ball back to the middle. It was a perfectly placed ball, and Hendrix came in and finished past the goalie.

With the win against Vidalia, SHS moved to 5-7 on the year and 4-4 in region play.

The Lady Tigers’ third win came on March 19 as they traveled to Hazlehurst for a match-up against Jeff Davis. Swainsboro controlled the game from start to finish for a 3-1 win.

The Lady Tigers scored first with a blast from 22 yards out by Durden 11 minutes into play. Halfway into the first, Hendrix scored off a corner kick to put the Lady Tigers up by 2 goals.

In a series of misplays by the defense, Jeff Davis scored easily to cut Swainsboro’s lead by half. That 1 goal would be all Swainsboro allowed on the day. Led by senior Katia Bonilla, senior Cherrelle Blair, junior Tykeria Bailey, and junior Savannah Skipper, the defense regrouped and clamped down on the Jacket offense to hold Jeff Davis to only 1 goal the entire game.

Durden then extended her team’s lead off a free kick with a powerful shot from 41 yards out, and the Lady Tigers went into the half leading 3-1.

The second half was a battle on both teams’ behalves, but Swainsboro had done enough damage in the first half and played excellent defense in the second to cement a 3-1 win.

Durden had 2 goals on the day while Hendrix accounted for the remaining 1. That 1 goal made Hendrix’s fourth in three games since moving to forward.

With the 3-game win streak, Swainsboro improved to 6-7 on the season and 5-4 in region play, a feat which Lin says he’s “very proud of.”

SHS boys again gave their all but fell to a very strong Jeff Davis team 8-0.

Both soccer teams from Swainsboro faced off against Bacon County on Tuesday. Results were unavailable at press time. Look for those results, as well as results from Swainsboro’s matches against East Laurens on Friday, March 26, in a later edition of The Chronicle.

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