LUDOWICI -- The Long County Blue Tide soccer teams fell to the Pierce County Bears on Tuesday, March 22 in their final home region game of the season. Both teams had slow starts in the first half that led to the 6-0 loss for the girls and the last minute 3-2 loss for the boys.
The Lady Bears had won four straight region championships dating back to 2017 and with the dominating win over the Lady Tide, they clinched their fifth. It looked like they were going to jump out to an early lead as they lined up for a penalty kick in the second minute.
A slide tackle penalty inside the box led to the penalty kick, but the shot hit the left bar as the score stayed tied at zero.
The Bears took little time getting on the board, however, as they took an assist from outside the box to go up 1-0 in the fifth minute.
Over the next ten minutes, the Lady Bears added two more goals, one off a free kick and another on a breakaway to go up 3-0.
The Lady Tide struggled to get much going in the first half as they were only able to get one shot off and it took them the first 27 minutes to do so.
In the final ten minutes of the half, the Bears added two more goals to go up 5-0 at the break. The fourth goal by the Bears was tipped by keeper Leora Hyde, but it was just able to bounce in behind her.
The Bears slowed things down in the second half, but still dominated, outshooting the Lady Tide 7-0, and scoring in the 52nd minute to get the 6-0 win.
With the loss, the Lady Tide fall to 3-9 and 3-4 in the region. They are now in a seemingly must win situation to make the state playoffs as they face off against Tattnall County in the region finale on Thursday, March 24.
The boys suffered their first region loss of the season and only their second loss overall in the second game, falling 3-2. A slow start in the first half led to the loss and put the Tide in a must-win situation to clinch the region championship later this week.
The Bears got on the board in the 10th minute on a breakaway goal by Jonah Allen. It looked like Allen would score again five minutes later, but keeper Kamdyn Gramsch-Milliken made a diving save to knock the ball away.
Just two minutes later in the 17th, Allen took an open pass on a breakaway and pushed a shot past Milliken for his second goal of the game to put the Bears up 2-0.
Gael Franco nearly got the Tide on the board in the 28th minute as he got open and just missed to the left. He redeemed himself with ten minutes left in the half on a free kick just outside the box as the Tide were down 2-1 at the break.
12 minutes into the second half, the Tide tied the score at two on Chase Giron’s shot that deflected off the back of a Bear’s leg.
Milliken nearly lost a shot, bobbling a save, but he was able to recover and knock the ball out in the 54th minute.
Just five minutes later, however, the Bears were able to take their final lead of the game on a long shot.
Franco nearly tied the game in the 65th minute as hit shot hit the crossbar. The last 15 minutes were dominated by the Tide offensively, but they were only able to control the ball and not get a shot into the net.
The loss is the Tide’s second on the year and the team’s first region loss. They fall to 10-2-1 and 6-1 in the region. They now take on the Tattnall County Warriors on Thursday, March 24 and a win would give them their first region title since 2017.