The Lakeside High School girls soccer team wrapped up the first half of region play Friday at Statesboro.
The second half begins Tuesday with a visit from No. 8 Greenbrier, a game that could decide the top team in Region 3-AAAA.
The No. 9 Panthers were given an opportunity to prep for the second half of the region schedule with a 6-2 win against short-handed Evans on Tuesday.
"We got to iron a few things out," Lakeside coach Chris Newman said. "I'm very confident with us. We got such a deep bench. I feel very confident about putting everybody in during a game without losing a step."
The Knights were without four players and had no available substitutions. Evans senior Emily Belchyk briefly tied the match at 1-1 at 24:22 in the first half. From there, it was all Stephanie Allen.
The Lakeside forward completed her hat trick nine minutes into the second half, slipping her third goal past interim Knights keeper Kim Fischer after the two became tangled outside the box.
The win kept the Panthers in position to challenge Greenbrier for the top spot in the region. A Wolfpack win Tuesday would place coach Chip Warren's team in solid position heading to April's region tournament.
Greenbrier slipped past Lakeside by a goal when the teams met on the Wolfpack's turf.
The Panthers' win Tuesday gave them a chance to empty the bench and work to repair some holes defensively.
"We just need to tighten up a few things in the back," Newman said.
Evans is now a long shot to claw back into the region race. The Knights lost their first meetings with Greenbrier and Lakeside by a combined 10-2.
Knights coach Rich Davis would like to have his bench back and healthy.
"That's just how it goes," Davis said. "On any other night, everybody would have been healthy and who knows what would have happened. All we can do is go back to the practice field and try better next time."
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