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Local soccer team wins bracket in Savannah tourney
Pictured: back - Samantha Garcia, Alyssa Anderson, Rebecca Loury, Coach Higgason, Coach Cas, Myesha Robinson, Nakia Hunter, Catherine Wood. Middle - Cortney Welch, Cecilia Graham, Megan Higgason, Erykah Brown. Front - Summer Mehalko. - photo by Photo provided.

The Hinesville Gators, a U12 girls soccer team, won the Silver Bracket division this past weekend at the Savannah Recreation Cup hosted by the Georgia Coastal Soccer Association.

Coached by Karen Higgason and assisted by Horatio Castaneda, the Gators went 3-1. Two of their games were decided by penalty kicks.

In the first game, Cortney Welch scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over the Cyclones.  In their second game, the Gators got goals from Cecilia Graham, who was called up from the Gators’ U10 team, Alyssa Anderson and Samantha Garcia in their 3-2 victory over the Panthers.

The Gators’ last two games went to shootouts.  In their third game, they took on Lil Crew.  The defense of Megan Higgason, Erykah Brown, Welch and Summer Mehalko proved to be impenetrable, but Lil Crew pulled out a win in the penalty-kick, sudden-death format known as a shootout.

In their final contest, a rematch with the Cyclones, Graham tied the game at 1-1 on a shot from outside the 18-yard box. After a scoreless overtime, which included some nifty saves by Mehalko, the goalkeeper, the teams went to a shootout.

The Cyclones missed their penalty kick, and Brown converted hers to give the Gators the victory.

“I have never seen one sudden-death shootout, not to mention two for the same team in one day,” Coach Higgason said. “Summer Mehalko did a wonderful job in the goal through a very stressful situation.  I am proud of her and the whole team for playing hard and working together as a team.”

Note: The Hinesville Gators will field teams for the spring season in all age groups, boys and girls.  If you are interested in your child playing, e-mail     
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