Lady Tigers manage close win amid troubling midseason

Swainsboro High School’s girls soccer team squeaked out a win last week against Bacon County, but the team’s youthfulness shows in their season record so far. Despite a strong start, the Lady Tigers have fallen to 3-5 on the year—but the details in the games the they’ve played thus far indicate tenacity and a bright future.

Since February 24, Swainsboro’s soccer teams have taken on three opponents. The first match would see Swainsboro take on Jeff Davis.

In years past, the Swainsboro-Jeff Davis girls match-up have been battles to the very end. This year was no different as the Lady Yellow Jackets came to Tiger Field on Wednesday, February 24.

Swainsboro fought hard and went into halftime tied 1-1. Coach Chang Hua Lin said youth and inexperience got the better of his team in the second half as Jeff Davis found a way to run the score up 6-2. Phoebe Durden and Hope Tant kept their places atop Swainsboro’s list of frequent scorers; each of these footies scored 1 goal apiece during the contest while Savannah Skipper recorded 1 assist. With the loss, Swainsboro’s girls moved to 2-4 on the season.

The boys team played their hearts out as well but fell short 4-1 against a Jeff Davis team ranked seventh heading into the game. Marshall Amerson is credited for Swainsboro’s 1 goal on the day.

The following day, Swainsboro’s teams loaded the bus and traveled to Bacon County High School to take on the Raiders, and the girls returned home with another tally etched into their win column.

Bacon County’s girls team, according to Lin, had improved greatly from the last time the two teams met, which was back in the spring 2019 season when the Swainsboro dominated for an 8-1 win. The Lady Raiders would not go down without a fight this year, though, making the Tigers fight tooth and nail for every score from the very beginning.

Bacon jumped out to an early lead, but Tant scored the equalizer shortly afterward to make the game 1-1 at the half. The second half gave both teams many opportunities with Durden being the difference-maker, scoring from a long distance—about 34 yards out—for the game winner, allowing Swainsboro to win 2-1 and to move to 3-4 on the season.

Again, Swainsboro’s boys worked tirelessly on the field, but their efforts wouldn’t be enough as Bacon toppled the Tigers 9-2.

Swainsboro’s soccer teams enjoyed a three-day break from their Thursday game in Alma and their next set of games on Monday, March 1, against East Laurens. Although the final score indicates a loss for Swainsboro’s girls, Lin says his Lady Tigers played their best game yet against the tough, No. 9-ranked Lady Falcons.

As to be expected, the match-up made for a close battle, and the score at halftime, 0-0, was a clear indicator of that. A late goal in the second half by East Laurens was the only goal of the game, and the Lady Tigers fell 0-1 against East Laurens to move to 3-5 on the season.

Swainsboro’s boys picked up their first win of the season, beating the Falcons in a close game of their own, 2-1.

Swainsboro went up early in the first half and carried a 1-0 lead into the second. East Laurens, not to go down quietly, fought back to tie the game at 1-all. However, a gritty Swainsboro team regained the lead with a game-winning goal late in the second half off a corner kick for a final score of 2-1.

Both teams then traveled to Vidalia on Thursday, March 4, anxious for more victories. That would not be the case, unfortunately, as Vidalia’s girls and boys teams alike found a way to best Swainsboro.

The girls played first, and Swainsboro went up 1-0 in the first half. The lead didn’t last long, though, as Vidalia scored the equalizer in the second half. Overtime was required, and the Lady Indians won the thriller in a heartbreaking way—through penalty kicks for a final of 4-2. With the latest loss, Swainsboro’s girls moved to 3-5 on the season and 2-3 in region play.

“It was a valiant effort from both sides. I am proud of how our girls played the last two games against two ranked opponents,” Lin said, referencing Vidalia, who entered the contest ranked 10th in the state and East Laurens, who were just ahead of Vidalia, sitting ninth in the ranks at the time Swainsboro squared off against them just days before. “Every game, the team gets better and shows how far they have come. It was a great match.”

SHS boys faced off against an always-tough Vidalia boys team and fell 7-0.

Swainsboro hosted Toombs County on Tuesday, March 9, for a region match-up. Results were unavailable at press time. Look for these results as well as results from a game against Woodville-Tompkins on Friday, March 12, in a future edition of The Chronicle.

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