The Hilton Head Island High School boys soccer team came together last weekend with a simple goal in mind.
The Seahawks had just suffered an unexpected 2-1 Region 8-AAA setback to James Island, Hilton Head High's first league defeat in nearly three years. So the group came together before a home date with SCISAA power Cardinal Newman with improvement in mind.
"We said we just needed to pick on things that each of us needed to get better at," senior Chip Tremarelli said. "We just needed to put in the action and do it. Come together as one and be ready for our next region game."
So far, the request seems to be paying off. The Seahawks netted a thrilling 1-0 victory over Cardinal Newman over the weekend, thanks to Tremarelli's goal in the 77th minute on a loose ball off a free kick, before trouncing region rival Orangeburg-Wilkinson 11-0 Tuesday night.
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"I don't think we were ready for (James Island)," Tremarelli said. "When we came out to play Saturday against Cardinal Newman, I felt like everybody came together as one."
The Seahawks (7-2, 2-1) entered the preseason ranked No. 2 in Class 3-A and were fresh off the heels of a state championship appearance last year. But Hilton Head High registered losses to Beaufort High and James Island in the early going this time around, showing signs of vulnerability as the Seahawks replaced a handful of veterans from last season's roster.
That was never more apparent than in the loss at James Island, Hilton Head High's first in league play since dropping a 1-0 thriller against Bluffton in sudden-death penalty kicks on April 9, 2010.
"We have some weaknesses," coach Wayne Quinlan said. "We have a thin line between success and failure when we're playing against good teams. Not that we can't make any mistakes, but we have to be psychologically into every game, ready to go from the opening whistle. We can't get outworked."
The Seahawks used this latest region match to work on some of their problem areas. They practice holding the shape they've tweaked in recent weeks while also trying to move the ball more quickly. The results were evident, as Hilton Head High built a 4-0 lead through the first 14 minutes before ending things 20 minutes ahead of schedule.
Tremarelli chipped in a pair of goals while Luis Lopez, Josh Axtell and Koben Barrientos all added two of their own. Tremarelli took a through ball from Steven Rendon before banking it into the corner for his first score in the 7th minute before adding to the Seahawks' lead in the 14th by banking the ball into the top right corner.
Rendon, Eduardo Quevedo and Garrett Novak also added goals for Hilton Head High, which chose to play four men down the rest of the way after Novak slipped in the Seahawks' 11th and final goal in the 53rd.
Quinlan also rested a trio of starters dealing with nagging injuries, as Chris MacMurray, Eliot McPherson and Kenneth Gonzalez all spent the night as spectators from the bench.
"It's still somewhat the beginning of the season," Tremarelli said. "We've got to fill up some of the holes that were left last year. But I think it's really coming together right now. I'm hoping we don't lose another game this season."
Hilton Head High 11, Orangeburg-Wilkinson 0
Goals -- Chip Tremarelli 2, Luis Lopez 2, Josh Axtell 2, Koben Barrientos 2, Eduardo Quevedo 1, Steven Rendon 1, Garrett Novak 1