Pinewood Prep too much for Hilton Head Christian in SCISAA 3-A girls soccer final

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com May 10, 2014 

COLUMBIA -- The opportunities were there for the Hilton Head Christian Academy girls soccer team on Saturday.

But Pinewood Prep was sure to shut them down before they became trouble. The Panthers won the SCISAA Class 3-A girls soccer championship, defeating Hilton Head Christian 5-0 after holding off an early Eagles' flurry.

Hilton Head Christian had three solid shots on goal in the opening minutes, the last tipped over the crossbar at the last second.

"It helped us keep focus and stay in the game," Pinewood Prep goalkeeper Hannah Miner said. "... We knew what we had to do -- we had to stay strong in the midfield -- and that's exactly what we did."

The teams were familiar. Eagles coach Ben Gerdts watched Pinewood Prep play three times this season, twice during a split with his team during the regular season and once against Hilton Head Prep.

The Eagles handed Pinewood Prep its only loss during the Panthers' 18-1-3 season. Gerdts said he never would have predicted the lopsided result.

"What they did very well today was pressuring the ball," Gerdts said. "And that's something they didn't do very well the last time."

He knew the Panthers' quick-strike capability with sophomore Charlotte Ring, who scored her 41st and 42nd goals of the season during the second half Saturday.

The Eagles wanted to mark Ring with a couple of players, but Andy Anderson, one tasked with slowing Ring in the past, was limited by an injury on Saturday.

Pinewood Prep coach Gail Osborn said goals from three different players showed how well the Panthers played as a team. She said the team's chemistry had been built throughout the season, including a trip to England on spring break which included matches, sightseeing and Premier League games.

Gerdts thought the Eagles could win by playing a possession game, which they did well early, but with no payoff.

Hilton Head Christian (15-5) was trying to win its first state title since 2002 and first in Class 3-A.

The Eagles expected Cardinal Newman out of the semifinal. But Pinewood Prep slipped by with a 2-1 victory and continued its momentum Saturday, celebrating with the champions trophy under cloudy skies in Columbia.

"We were so hungry after beating Cardinal Newman on Thursday, we were not going to let them win," Osborne said. "That was such a huge win to knock them out."

The Panthers scored in the 25th minute when Kaylee Kamp cleaned up a rebound in front of the net. Ring scored on a 15-yard blast after getting free on the right side.

Hilton Head Christian didn't get many chances in the second half.

Summer Ricciardi added a point-blank goal after halftime, and Kaley Katsanis scored on a 30-yard free kick sneaked just under the crossbar.

Ring scored her second goal in the 75th minute.

SCISAA Class 3-A girls soccer championship

Pinewood Prep 5, Hilton Head Christian 0

Goals: PP -- Kaylee Kemp (25th minute), Charlotte Ring (31st minute), Summer Ricciardi (59th minute), Ring (75th minute).

Follow assistant sports editor Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.

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