The Beaufort Academy girls soccer team hasn't forgotten last year's state championship loss at the hands of Spartanburg's Oakbrook Prep.
Good thing for the Eagles, they're getting a second chance when they again face off against the Knights in the SCISAA Class 1-A/2-A championship at 3 p.m. Saturday at Patriots Point Athletics Complex in Mt. Pleasant.
"We match up well with them," Eagles coach David Byrne said before practice Friday afternoon. "They're a big team and India (Kozel) is their big player. Winning is going to depend on us shutting her down and then still being able to pay attention to everyone else."
Kozel scored twice -- the first erased Beaufort Academy's 1-0 first-half lead and the second was the game winner -- in last year's 3-2 Warriors' victory.
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"They're really aggressive," said goalkeeper Charlotte Delfosse. "(Kozel) is extremely fast and difficult to defend. But our defense has gotten better, and I believe we'll be able to handle her."
Just a sophomore, Kozel likely has improved, as well. And she isn't the Eagles' only concern. Junior Leah McGetrick and sophomore Holli Hinds are also threats to score for the Warriors.
"They have a lot of fantastic shooters and girls who know how to get them the ball," Delfosse said.
"Our defense is going to have to be on top of it," Beaufort Academy junior Miranda Weslake said. "Yesterday, we let (King's Academy) score two goals they probably shouldn't have. So our focus is on defense, and the offense will take care of itself."
Weslake said the Eagles had become more focused since two midseason losses to SCISAA 3-A teams, their only losses of the season.
"It got us down a little, shocked us a little bit," Weslake said. "Coach told us, 'Play your game and we're not going to lose another game this season.' We listened, and we haven't."
Byrne, who led the Eagles to the championship in 2010, said the Eagles enjoyed last year's game, despite the outcome, because both teams were so talented. But he's not looking forward to losing again.
"We have a special team," Byrne said. "We have a lot of talent, and they're nice girls and they have worked so hard. It's been a rewarding year. There would be no better way to cap it off than with a state title."
SCISAA Class 1-A/2-A Girls State Soccer Championship
Beaufort Academy (15-2) vs. Oakbrook Prep (10-2)
3 p.m. Saturday, Patriots Point Athletics Complex, Mt. Pleasant
Tickets: $7 for adults, $4 for students
Notes: No artificial noisemakers or banners allowed. There will be no concessions sold during the game.