Lady Devils return with 8-0 soccer win over Valdosta

Apr. 4—TIFTON — Soccer returned from spring break and Tift County teams divided in non-region contests from Valdosta April 2.

Up 2-0 at the half, the Lady Devils exploded for six more in the final 40 minutes. Tift's boys pulled even with VHS with 22:41 remaining, but saw the visitors score late to win.

"We needed that," said Lady Devils leader Sherri Constable. TCHS is gearing up for a big battle Monday against Houston County that will decide their state playoffs fate.

Constable explained that region is determined on a points basis. Thomas County Central already clinched the championship. Veterans is second and Lee County is third.

A win ensures Tift fourth place. It gets more complicated if penalty kicks are involved, so the clearest path is an outright victory. The Lady Devils won 2-0 at Houston last month.

Valdosta was hopefully a good warmup for the match ahead. The afternoon started slow, with Yareli Espinoza scoring the first goal 14 minutes into the half on a steal.

Tift kept firing — they vastly outshot Valdosta — but did not pierce the net again until 4:31 remained, when Jordyn Shivers assisted Abby Goddard on a 3-on-1 break.

Goals were much easier to come by after the break.

Ninety seconds in, the score was 3-0 on an Espinoza penalty kick. Less than five minutes later, it was 4-0 on an Amanda Tovar header.

Tovar picked up her second goal on a rebound 15 minutes into the 2nd half. Goddard's second was two minutes later. Caroline Dotson scored with 18:36 remaining and Shivers finished up with a goal three minutes after that.

Constable played her bench in the remaining minutes and let usual defenders take a few shots. Ellie Warren had two late chances in the match.

The boys game saw a scoreless 1st half.

Midway through the half saw bad luck on a Cristian Salazar shot that went wide left and one by Brock Hardin that noisily hit the left post.

David Olguin and Eric Palomares had shots saved against them in the final six minutes, with Salazar centimeters high on another attempt.

Valdosta cracked open scoring four minutes into the 2nd half, courtesy Franklin Garcia.

Fifteen minutes later, the Blue Devils finally broke through. A throw-in into the box resulted in a shot, which Valdosta's keeper stopped, but didn't corral. Olguin was on the spot, depositing the loose change into the net with his left foot.

Tift County seemed on the verge of taking the lead, but it was the Wildcats who got a break. With 6:15 remaining, Valdosta caught Tift's keeper playing high and Austin Sanderson slipped a shot past him.