Hilton Head Island advances to 4th straight 3-A girls soccer championship

ksalter@islandpacket.comMay 19, 2014 

If it is possible for one goal to epitomize the philosophy of the Hilton Head Island girls soccer team, which advanced Monday night to its fourth straight state championship game, it was the one by junior defender Brennan O'Gorman.

Her looping rainbow of a shot encapsulated the trademark of the Seahawks. It was a bold, daring, even audacious attempt, one most players and most teams wouldn't even think of trying, much less be able to pull off successfully.

"Actually I was looking for her to go the opposite direction, play a diagonal ball," coach Ernie Suozzi said. "It stayed up, and I said, 'It's got a shot!' "

The attempt, taken from more than 30 yards out, sailed over defenders, teammates and eventually, the opposing goalkeeper before settling in the top right corner of the goal. That goal, and three others from star sisters Amanda and Ashley Green, were enough to move the Seahawks (21-2) comfortably past visiting St. James, 4-1 in the Lower State Championship at Hilton Head High.

Hilton Head Island faces the Eastside-Chapin winner at 5 p.m. Friday at River Bluff High School in Columbia for the state championship.

"It was a big surprise to me," O'Gorman said. "I honestly had no idea that it was going in. I thought it went over and then everyone screamed."

Now, despite year after year of roster turnover, despite having to go on the road to face the top seed, and despite an extremely young attack, Suozzi has once again steered the Seahawks to the top.

Just one more game sits between them and a fourth consecutive championship and the extension of an impressive dynasty. Through it all, fearless, creative attacking has remained a constant.

"I like to go outside the box," Suozzi said. "I don't like to play the predictable stuff. I like to do things that are different. It makes it a little tough for other teams to mark you."

Senior midfielder Amanda Green opened the scoring in the 13th minute. But it was O'Gorman's strike that drew stunned applause from the crowd with five minutes to go in the first half. The goal seemed to spark the Seahawks, who controlled possession as well but saw many chances denied.

Not so in the second half, during which Hilton Head pressed its advantage. The Green sisters, playing their final home game with the rest of the team's seniors, each scored about two minutes apart, both dashing down the left past overwhelmed defenders before converting.

"I definitely thought we picked it up in the second half," Amanda Green said. "I thought we just came out with a lot more energy and intensity."

From there, the Seahawks cruised into yet another final. But no matter how many times they get there, each one is as special as the last.

"I don't like losing," Amanda Green said. "I hope we win the next game, too."

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