As Evans girls soccer coach Troy Willard wrapped up his postgame talk after Wednesday night's 10-0 drubbing of Baldwin, a few of his girls asked for their goal totals.
Sophomore Tarah Henderson, who scored three goals in the win, didn't ask how many goals she had scored this year but was shocked when she heard her coach call it out anyway. In the Lady Knights' first eight games, Henderson has scored 15 goals.
"I was surprised. I had no idea," she said.
As a freshman on last year's squad, Henderson finished the 16-game season with 25 goals. With three goals and a pair of assists to beat Baldwin on Wednesday, Henderson is the offensive leader for the Lady Knights.
Her secret, she said, comes from above.
"I pray before every half," she said. "I pray that we play well and that we win. I guess it's working."
It certainly worked Wednesday, when Evans scored all 10 of its goals in the first half to force the mercy rule on region opponent Baldwin. Along with Henderson's three goals, senior Allie Young put three in the net while Emily Belchyk added two scores and a pair of assists. One of Belchyk's two assists came off of a flip throw-in.
"This team is shaping up," Willard said. "We've had some girls with injuries come back. They're tough players."
After suffering an overtime loss last weekend at Wayne County, the Lady Knights stand at 1-1 in region play. With Greenbrier's girls ranked No. 7 in the state and winners of their first two region games, any region loss hurts in the chase for the region title.
"With one loss I'm not sure where it puts us as far as region," Willard said. "We put that behind us. We'll have to beat Lakeside and Greenbrier to win it. That's not easy, but it can be done."
The news wasn't as positive for the Evans boy's soccer team Wednesday night. After beating Oconee County, ranked AAA No. 2, on the road Tuesday night, the Knights returned home Wednesday to lose to Baldwin 2-1. The loss was the fourth in the last five games and puts the Knights at 0-2 in region play. Evans, now 4-4 overall, began the season ranked No. 6 in the state.
"We've put ourselves in a situation where we have to win out for a chance at region," Evans coach Brian Killips said. "We've been terribly unlucky this season."
The ball has certainly bounced the way of Evans' opponents to start the year. Killips said the Knights first region game, a 2-0 loss at Wayne County, came despite an Evans shot-on-goal advantage of 35-2.
In Wednesday's loss, Evans senior Chad Strader beat the Baldwin goalkeeper only to miss the open net by less than six inches off of a left-footed kick.
The Knights and Lady Knights are enjoying a much-needed break this weekend before returning to action Thursday at Statesboro, Ga.
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