The moments that come along a few times during a match and reveal to a team its character taught the Beaufort High School girls soccer team a lot Thursday about where it stands.
First, during the 35th minute and the teams tied, Ashley Ridge forward Rachel Wall tore off on a breakaway run up the middle at Eagle Field. Eagles keeper Kayla King represented the final defense -- by a long shot -- and so Wall had time to plan her attack.
But Wall dribbled all the way into the goal area, allowing the sophomore keeper to steal the ball away and cover it.
Next, with time bleeding away and the Eagles needing a goal to avoid overtime, Eagles sophomore Claire Martin chased in a rebound off a free kick, the go-ahead goal just before stoppage time of the Eagles' 2-1 victory.
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Beaufort High (7-2, 4-0 Region 8-AAAA) extended its solid start in region play.
"Us scoring in the last (minutes) was a big thing," senior captain Sydney Boggs said. "It really showed our character. They were smack-talking the whole game, so it was kind of nice to just walk away with a win after all of what they said."
Eagles freshman Kaile Vuyk struck first on a blast from inside the 18 off an Allison Blake assist. Wall delivered the equalizer six minutes into the second half with a right-footed strike that caromed off a Beaufort High defender before finding the net.
But that was all Wall and the Foxes could manage. King finished with four saves, including one of the biggest of the season to this point.
"I knew we were all right after that," Eagles coach Terry Rawlins said.
The Swamp Foxes' chirping might have been a carryover from the first time the teams met, at Ashley Ridge on April 1. The Eagles' 2-1 victory then was also said to be a physical contest.
"It was a fight last time; it was a fight this time," senior Hailey Conners said. "They wanted the win. We wanted it, too.
In the end, the Eagles held it together to earn the sweep. Their perfect start to the region schedule has left the team's seniors in unfamiliar territory -- as region front-runners.
The young squad suffered a setback Tuesday, when freshman Olivia Taylor tore her ACL and was lost for the season. But Beaufort High's other underclassmen have filled key roles, Rawlins said. And the team's seniors have brought the younger players up to speed.
"And they've really proven themselves," Conners said.
Plenty of soccer remains. The Eagles are only halfway through their region schedule. They face a non-region test Monday at Hilton Head High before returning to region play Tuesday by hosting Colleton County.
The Eagles are confident the key plays can continue to go their way.
"I think if we keep playing the way we're playing and keep focused, there is nothing in our way of winning region," Boggs said.