A pair of Columbia County schools battled Wednesday night in the first week of high school soccer play. The matchup, pitting Greenbrier in their home opener against Harlem, saw both Greenbrier teams come out on top.
The Greenbrier boys won 7-1 while the Lady Wolfpack held on for a 2-0 win.
Despite the loss, Harlem girls' soccer coach, George Berry, said he was pleased with his girls' performance.
"They looked really good compared to the competition we were playing. I'm extremely pleased," he said.
Greenbrier, ranked No. 7 in the Class AAAA preseason poll, scored twice in the first half. Junior Mary Law and senior Brook Weinstein each found the net for the 2-0 advantage.
The Lady Wolfpack pressure remained constant for virtually the entire game but never resulted in another goal.
"Possession-wise, we won tremendously, but we have to realize we have to put the ball in the back of the net," Greenbrier girls' coach Alex Heider said. "We cannot be happy about this win."
Harlem goalkeeper Megan Morgan was pummeled with shots for most of the game, but after giving up the two first-half goals, the sophomore shutout Greenbrier the rest of the way.
"I thought it was going to be worse," Morgan said. "I just blocked everything out, kept my eyes open and tried to do my best."
The Greenbrier/Harlem boys game also was close for the first half. The Bulldogs drew first blood when goalkeeper Kenji Link launched a pitch-long pass to a streaking Justin Webb. Link got the assist as Webb punched it in for a 1-0 Harlem lead.
"He's a whale of a keeper," Harlem boy's soccer coach Evan Johns said. "He's always trying to do something like that."
The celebration was short-lived, however, as Greenbrier quickly tied the game on a goal from junior Brooks Duff less than 90 seconds later.
"We have a couple of new players so we had to get a feel for each other first," Greenbrier senior goalkeeper Jonathan Shackelford said.
One of those new players, Lakeside transfer Will Dunaway, took most of the first half to warm up to his new teammates. Dunaway, however, broke the 1-1 tie with two minutes left in the first half. The goal was only his first of three he'd score in his Greenbrier debut.
"After we gave up that goal, we had a little talk in the middle of the field," Dunaway said.
"We probably didn't take them as seriously as we should have," he said.
Dunaway and the rest of the Wolfpack woke up in the second half. Shackelford combined with back-up keeper Jason Caraway to shutout the Bulldogs the rest of the way. The Greenbrier offense erupted for five goals to take a 7-1 win.
In addition to Dunaway's two second-half scores, senior Jason Purucker added a pair of goals and junior Dallas Dickerson also scored.
"You see what happens when we play," Greenbrier boys' soccer coach Chip Warren told his team after the game. "We played with a lot more focus in the second half."
The Greenbrier boys will next hit the road to face Hart County on Wednesday. The Lady Wolfpack will play host to rival Lakeside on Tuesday. Both Harlem boys' and girls' teams will next travel to Clarke Central on Tuesday.
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