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Wildcats continue winning streak
Boys sweep two region games, girls split
soccer-Stephen-Guarino
Wildcat Steven Guarino helped lead his team to a 5-0 victory over South Effingham. - photo by Stacey Bergsmith

soccer

Video of the RHHS soccer team captains.

The Wildcat boys and girls soccer teams competed in two region games each this week. The boys continued their undefeated region record with an 8-0 victory over Benedictine before blocking South Effingham 5-0. The girls suffered their first region loss to St. Vincent’s 0-4 before coming back with a 5-0 win over South Effingham.

On March 10, the boys dominated BC to give the Cats a 2-0 region record. Nic Harris, Greyson Surges and Sam Vernon scored two goals each while Ethan Vernon and Steven Guarino scored one each. Zach Alltop had nine saves.

"As we get some of the older players back, we now have the depth to compete because the younger players have had to log significant time," Coach Wade Wright said. "My hope is that we can maintain the momentum and keep improving and win the next game. We don’t ever look past the next game. We are preparing for South Effingham."

That preparation paid off as, on March 13, they dominated the young SEHS squad.

Wright complimented the Mustangs, but said this game was a matter of "experience in age taking advantage of inexperience in youth. They put up a good fight though."

For the Wildcats, Sam Vernon scored 3 points while Steven Guarino and Greyson Surges each scored a goal. Surges had 2 assists while Sam Vernon and Jay Sipe had one each. Richmond Hill had 30 shots and six saves versus six shots and 22 saves from SEHS.

"All the work we put into the early season and the adversity we had to overcome is paying dividends right now," Wright said. "Playing the bigger schools early on, along with compensating for all the illness and injury on this team, has prepared us for this region run. In prior games, we were forced us to play our younger kids in sink or swim positions type positions due to many of our first string being out with injury or illness. Because of that, we now have the depth in this program to succeed."

Wright said he anticipates the return of injuries players Zach Payne and Bolton Kehrt after spring break. He also said Ben Botehlo, who has been fulfilling commitments with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, will make his debut after the break.

The Cats are now 3-0 in sub region and 4-5-2 overall. They are unscored on in region play and are averaging 5 goals a game. There are 3 region games left: two against Liberty and a rematch with BC.

"I am cautiously optimistic about our chances of competing for the region championship, but we still have a lot of work to do," Wright said.

He also noted that the Wildcat boys JV team is undefeated with two wins over quality teams the likes of Savannah Christian, Statesboro, Savannah Country Day and Camden County.

For the girls, they suffered their first region loss to the top-ranked St. Vincent’s squad on March 10.

"We new that they were a fast team going in, and because of that we played back on our heals in the first half," Coach Steve Kollman said. "This led to them being ahead at the half 0-1. We had to push their defense hard in the second half to try and get the equalizer, but when you do that against an exceptional team, you in turn put your defense at risk. They scored two goals in the last five minutes due to our pressing forward. We are looking forward to the rematch her in Richmond Hill this coming Tuesday."

On March 13, the nearly-undefeated Lady Cats returned to their usual form with a 6-0 sweep over the South Effingham Lady Mustangs. Senior team captain Lauren Hall scored one goal while freshman Lindsey Vasher broke out to score a surprising five goals. Azea Mustafa led in assists.

"Lindsey is growing by leaps and bounds with her understanding of our offensive plan," Kollman said. "We knew from her history in the club circuit that she would develop into a premiere scorer as a junior and senior, but it just so happened that it’s bearing true a bit earlier than planned."

Lady Mustang goalie Brittany Way limited the damage with 25 saves.

"The Mustangs had it in our end five or six times, but they just never got a quality shot," Kollman said.

The Lady Cats are currently 2-1 in Region 3-AAA while the Mustangs are 0-3.

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