Beaufort Academy's girls soccer title defense will be built on games like this.
The Eagles started the season with a stretch of some of its toughest opponents. They defeated Ashley Hall on Monday. And Tuesday, coach David Byrne's team experienced its first close contest, one he said should help as the season moves forward.
Hilton Head Christian Academy scored on a penalty kick in stoppage time to force a 4-4 tie on the road at Merritt Field. Beaufort Academy led at numerous points. Hilton Head Christian came back each time to force a tie.
Beaufort Academy (1-0-1), the defending SCISAA Class 2-A champions, will travel to Ashley Hall today to face the team for the second time in three days.
"My biggest concern was seeing how the girls would come out after playing a hard game yesterday," Byrne said. "And they really came out ready to play."
Hilton Head Christian coach Ben Gehrdts, in his first season, didn't know the name of Beaufort Academy standout Miranda Weslake, only her jersey number. But he was impressed.
Weslake scored all four of her team's goals Tuesday. She has scored all eight of her team's goals in two games to start the season.
"She was unreal," Gehrdts said. "We had a lot of difficulty with her."
More than one Weslake goal came after she dribbled through the Christian Academy defense from midfield. Her goal from the top of the 18, a shot to the top right corner, gave Beaufort Academy a 4-3 lead.
Hilton Head Christian (0-0-1) was down 2-0 early before battling back. Gehrdts asked for more intensity at the half and said he received it. He moved up Jessica Day as an additional attacker to pressure Beaufort Academy's defense.
Day scored her team's final two goals, including the tying penalty kick after teammate Audrey Bensch was fouled in the box. The shot found the lower right of the net. Officials whistled the game over with Weslake again dribbling through the defense.
Gehrdts said his Eagles were missing two starters, midfielder Addy Bensch and fullback Megan Nadal, and that he was pleased with how some new faces performed.
"We honestly felt like we got a win," Gehrdts said. "It was looking bleak."
Beaufort Academy 4, Hilton Head Christian 4
Goals: Beaufort Academy-- Miranda Weslake (4). Hilton Head Christian-- Jessica Day (2), Stevie DeSimone, Andy Anderson