High School Soccer

Hilton Head High soccer team rediscovers offense in shutout of Bluffton girls

ccox@islandpacket.comMarch 6, 2013 

Ernie Suozzi walked along the Hilton Head Island High School soccer field Tuesday night, the memory of a recent loss still fresh in his mind.

His Seahawks had just dispatched rival Bluffton, 8-0, minutes earlier. But a 3-2 defeat to Dutch Fork in Saturday's Viking Cup -- a game in which the Seahawks led 2-0 with 15 minutes to play -- was still at the forefront.

"If we would have played like that this weekend, we would have won the Viking Cup," he said. "That was the way we know how to play. We just didn't do it. We didn't execute over the weekend.

"But I'm happy to get it back on track."

HIlton Head High put a greater emphasis on its offense in recent days, as poor shooting helped lead to the unraveling against the Silver Foxes. The Seahawks were much more efficient this time around, as Suozzi's veteran-laden crew connected on seven of its 12 first-half shots, good for a 58 percent success rate.

"We played our game again," he said. "That's what we're trying to work on."

Offensive mainstay Amanda Green led the charge with a pair of goals -- including the team's only second-half score -- while five others also cracked the scoring column. Freshman Claudia Murphy connected on the first two goals of her career in the 23rd and 26th minute, and nearly had the hat trick in the second half after her shot from 20 yards out banged off the right bar.

"I came out here wanting to prove myself, especially since the girls are two-time state champs," she said. "I want to prove I can play out here."

She more than did. Suozzi expects his freshman pupil to receive ample playing time over the coming weeks as Hilton Head High (3-1) embarks on its Region 8-AAA slate. The Seahawks have a bevy of freshmen on this year's squad that will continue to learn from a senior-laden lineup.

"I want to show myself as a leader next year," Murphy said. "I want to show I can compete with the seniors."

Suozzi's starters played the first 15 minutes of each half before giving way to the reserves. Emily Crick and Leighton Gray-Smith started the onslaught with goals in the 5th and 8th, respectively, before Green and Murphy doubled the deficit for Bluffton (0-3-1).

Reserves Rebecca Parent (23rd) and Brennan O'Gorman (39th) rounded out the scorers for the Seahawks, who outshot Bluffton 29-2.

Hilton Head High used its comfortable advantage to continue its work on the offensive end. The Seahawks practiced their crosses and staying outside the 18 over the course of the second half, opting for longer shots that will come in handy later in the year.

None were prettier than Murphy's near-miss in the 65th. It's the same type of shot Suozzi wants to see his players take more often this season.

"That ball was lasered, man," said Suozzi, shaking his head. "That danced. Whew."

Hilton Head High 8, Bluffton 0

Goals: Amanda Green 2, Claudia Murphy 2, Emily Crick 1, Brennan O'Gorman 1, Rebecca Parent 1, Leighton Gray-Smith 1

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