High School Soccer

Quinlan, Hilton Head High boys aim for first state soccer title

Seahawks face No. 1 Eastside for Class 3A championship

ccox@islandpacket.comMay 17, 2013 

Hilton Head Island High School's Steven Rendon (9) and Socastee's Will Caswell jump to head the ball during the Class 3-A Lower State championship. Hilton Head High faces Eastside on Saturday in the state title match.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Delayna Earley Buy Photo

Wayne Quinlan peeks across the field, and sees the challenges ahead of him and his Hilton Head Island High School boys soccer team.

Looking back is Eastside -- the team that began the year ranked atop the Class 3-A poll and remains there entering Saturday's showdown at Gilbert High School in the state championship.

"They started the year No. 1 and I'm sure they'll go into (today's) game No. 1," Quinlan said. "They'll have loads of talent from the club up there. Everybody who they have on their team will be polished club players.

"But that doesn't mean they're going to win."

The Seahawks have little reason to be concerned. They've already run the gantlet this postseason, taking down a trio of teams that entered the playoffs ranked Nos. 2 through 4. Hilton Head High was the underdog in each of those games, and yet came out on top against teams that finished with a combined 59-11 record.

Now comes the hard part: defeating an Eastside team that has lost just once all year -- a 5-0 defeat to J.L. Mann on March 6 -- and enters today's 3:30 p.m showdown with a 19-game winning streak.

"If we work hard," sophomore Alvaro Concha said, "hopefully we'll win in the finals."

Hilton Head High (21-4) believes it has the parts necessary to take the first boys soccer state championship in school history and the first in the long coaching career of Quinlan.

A stifling defense, a deep core of players and a senior-laden team -- led by the always exciting Chip Tremarelli -- highlight the Seahawks roster.

"It's very difficult to get through us," Quinlan said. "We've always got more players. Defensively, we've always got coverage."

It's been Tremarelli at the center of the team's run, as the forward has recorded 10 of Hilton Head High's 15 goals this postseason, including a five-goal performance in a 5-3 win over sixth-ranked Myrtle Beach.

"I think there's a lot of veterans on this team, and the underclassmen handle the pressure really well also," goalkeeper Conner Goulet said. "We're going to win a state championship, obviously, and to try and do it with our style."

They came excruciatingly close a year ago, as an improbable run to a Lower State championship ended on a sour note after a 3-1 setback to Fort Mill.

The Seahawks don't anticipate a repeat performance. They've worked on raising their effort level since the regular season concluded, and once again are looking to grind out a victory in the finale.

"Everybody kicks into high gear and we start playing the kind of soccer we play," Goulet said. "Going into states, the effort we're going to put in is going to be the most we've put in all year."

The pieces are in place for Quinlan and company. Hilton Head High's elusive state title beckons.

"I don't know what's going to happen Saturday, but we've weathered storms and we've played some class opponents," Quinlan said. "We'll go up there and see if we can win one this time."

Boys soccer Class 3-A state championship

Who: Hilton Head High (21-4) vs. Eastside (21-1-1)

Where: Leonard Price Field, Gilbert High School

When: 3:30 p.m. today

Admission: $10

Watch: View the game online at www.schsl.playonsports.com

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