By PATRICK ENZOR
Item Sports Writer
The Sumter High School varsity boys soccer team wanted to stop South Florence defensively coming into the Region VI-4A contest. For the most part, it did. However, the Bruins were able to capitalize on three chances and take a 3-1 decision at the SHS soccer field Friday.
Sumter head coach Damon Hubert moved Brian Przybyla back to the sweeper position in an attempt to keep the Bruins out of the net. Hubert was pleased with his defense, minus the three lapses.
"I thought our defense did a good job of limiting their opportunities," Hubert said. "They took advantage of their opportunities and found a way to win.
"After the game I talked to our guys about finishing on our opportunities," he added. "Against teams like South Florence that is going to hurt you. Those teams find a way to win."
South Florence, 12-3 overall and 4-1 in region play, got on the board early when Stephen Granthen beat Sumter marking back Robert Miller down the left side. Granthen cut in front of Miller to beat Sumter keeper Daniel Nesbit and finished in a wide open goal to put the Bruins on top 1-0 in the sixth minute.
"I felt for a good amount of time we outplayed (South Florence)," said Hubert, whose team fell to 9-5 overall and 4-2 in the region."The difference was that they capitalized on their opportunities and we didn't."
Sumter stormed right back and managed to get a corner kick six minutes later. After the ball bounced out of the 18-yard box and was crossed back in by Sumter, Przybyla put his foot on the loose ball and put his shot home to knot the game at one.
The Gamecocks did have two chances to take the lead when Casey McCarthy had his shot blocked by a defender from close range after the ball rolled through the 6-yard box. Jay Atkinson had the same opportunity at the 27-minute mark, but couldn't finish and missed wide right.
The Bruins jumped on Sumter quickly to start the second half. Once again, Granthen beat Miller down the left side and slipped his shot past Nesbit to give South Florence a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Sumter's chances to score were few and far between in the second half. Brett Richardson and Bruin keeper Jeremy Crooks met the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and the ball bounced to McCarthy, but he couldn't handle it to get a shot on the empty net. That was about the only chance the Gamecocks had.
South Florence put the game away at the 70-minute mark when the Bruins cleared the ball from their own box. South Florence's Cody Koski gathered the loose ball, beat a defender and made a pass to the corner to a cutting Justin Bramblett. Bramblett held off his defender and chipped the ball over Nesbit for the final tally.
Hubert said that playing Przybyla in the back takes away from the offense. Against the Bruins, due to injuries in the defense, there wasn't another choice.
"We have had limited success without him (Przybyla) back there (in defense)," Hubert said. "We have given up too many goals and by putting him in the back, we hope to keep it close.
"Our starting outside (marking) back was injured," Hubert added. "He saw very limited time. Those things make a difference. I don't want to make excuses because we got beat tonight.
"Their first two goals came from that missing (marking) back position and his speed," Hubert added. "We are used to him running those balls down and (we) just relaxed a little tonight."