Meagan Postell was the hero for the South Forsyth girls soccer team on Friday night in its 2-1 win over West Forsyth, but she probably could have enjoyed the moment more.
Postell was one of a group of Lady War Eagles players afflicted with a bug that was going around the team, and she lapsed into intermittent coughing fits in the postgame gathering.
“I always knew I would play,” Postell said hoarsely. “I just didn’t know how well I would be able to.”
The Georgia State signee added a dramatic aspect to the improbability of the win, scoring the game-winning goal with seven seconds remaining to boost the War Eagles (5-0-0) over the fourth-ranked Wolverines (3-2-0).
The sickness wasn’t the only factor working against South, as head coach Tom Braun saw it.
“This was really our first game at home, and we’re still not used to this big field,” Braun said. “We’ve been on the road on grass. I know we practice on it, but as far as playing a game on it, it’s been about a month.”
Still, the War Eagles carried a lead into halftime, thanks to Nikki Bario’s penalty kick goal, but ceded the advantage about 14 minutes into the second half. West Forsyth sophomore Kylie Gazza chased down a long, bouncing ball, powered through a defender and banged a high shot past War Eagles goalkeeper Courtney O’Malley.
That goal looked to be the one to send the game to extra time, but a sudden South push ended the game in regulation. Junior midfielder Reagan Smith played a ball to the right side for Postell, who controlled it in the box and slotted it into the lower left corner of the net.
The win already had plenty of weight for the War Eagles, as it helped them make a strong statement to open Region 5-7A play. They couldn’t discount the adverse circumstances, though.
“We weren’t at 100 percent as a team,” Postell said. “But through working hard and just doing the best we could, we still came out with the win.”
South boys 4, West 0
Trevor Byrne rejoined the soccer team at South Forsyth because he wanted to see the field more.
He’s not just doing that – the junior, back after a year spent playing for Georgia United, part of the United States Soccer Developmental Academy, is one of the focal points for the War Eagles’ attack. He helped drive South to a 4-0 win over West Forsyth on Friday night.
“I like to have the ball a lot, and I like playing, and I like having fun with my guys,” Byrne said. “It’s fun.”
Byrne said he enjoyed his time playing with Georgia United, but he craved more playing time and jumped at the offer to rejoin the high school ranks. He shuffles between right wing and center midfield – Byrne doesn’t have a preference, and his speed and ball control skills help him excel at both – but against the Wolverines (1-4-0), he did the most damage from the wing.
He almost scored two minutes into the game on a hard shot to the left post, and five minutes later, Byrne pushed the ball up the right flank and swung a cross in for Lorenzo Betti, who scored with a sliding finish.
That was it for tallies in the first half, but with roughly 20 minutes remaining in the second half, Grey Sizemore poked a cross in through contact to start a flurry of three goals in 10 minutes for the War Eagles (3-2-0). Ryan Lessard and Nick Postell also scored off crosses to give South a convincing win to open region play.