South Effingham dampened the happiness of the Liberty County High School soccer teams’ senior day Thursday evening at Donell Woods Stadium.
The Lady Panthers lost, 3-1, and the Panthers gave up three goals in the second half to lose, 3-0, in the Liberty teams’ last regular-season home games of the season.
The same problems that have plagued Lady Panthers head coach Jarvis McArthur’s squad remain present going into the final games of the season.
“We have battled injury so much this year. Today, I am missing two key defenders and our goalkeeper has been out for most the season,” he said.
South Effingham took an early lead, scoring in the first 10 minutes of the first half. Liberty tied the game midway through the opening half with a goal from Courtney Welch. However, South Effingham scored twice in the second half for the win.
McArthur praised the efforts of his lone senior, Lynda Jiminez.
“Lynda moved up to play wing and she also played sweeper, too. We let her move around and have a fun and memorable last home game,” McArthur said.
The Lady Panthers fell to 5-8 overall and 1-5 in Region 3A-AAAA.
Liberty was scheduled to face Academy of Richmond County on Tuesday in Augusta. The winner will have a berth in the state playoffs.
The teams played a tough first half, getting shots on goal but nothing in the net. In the second half, South Effingham took a quick lead from a goal and just kept striking, while Liberty didn’t respond offensively.
“We just ran out of gas in the second half,” Liberty County head coach Bryant Durham said. “We played really hard in the first half and at times in the second half. South Effingham is a good soccer team.”
Despite injuries and youth, Durham was pleased with the leadership his four seniors — Andre Brown, Will Dickens, Alex Demmings and Austin Burnham — provided the younger players.
“Kind of lost for words. We are very young this year. The kids are on a steep learning curve that should pay huge dividends in the future. Good senior leadership on the field, but lots of players limping around just trying to get through each game,” Durham said.
The Panthers were scheduled to play ACA on Tuesday in Augusta.