Jordan Haughton-James naturally doesn't get many goal-scoring opportunities as a defender for the Hilton Head Island High School girls soccer team. So when the chance finally arose for the senior to lace one off her cleat Friday night against Brookland-Cayce, she wasn't expecting much of a result.
"I went to go shoot it and I thought it was just going to go out," she said. "I turned around and was just like, 'Oh, it's not going in.' All of the sudden I hear everyone screaming."
It was that kind of night for Hilton Head High, which breezed into the Class 3-A Lower State championship with a dominating 5-0 win over Brookland-Cayce. Haughton-James was at the center of it all, collecting the team's first goal and an assist on a rare corner kick all while helping the Seahawks defense register yet another shutout.
"It's about time for her," coach Ernie Suozzi said. "Because she's been doing it all year for us. She's been fighting to get that goal and stuff like that. That one finally materialized for her, but that's just accumulation of hard work."
She wasn't entirely sure, but Haughton-James believed it was her third goal of the season. Either way, it gave the Seahawks (21-3) a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute that they would never relinquish. She helped double the advantage in the 27th after her perfectly placed corner found Kelsey Fitzhugh right in front of the Brookland-Cayce net.
"I usually don't take those, either," she said. "I saw no one was taking it, so I just went up for it. I got lucky."
Freshman Claudia Murphy capped the onslaught in the 77th with the fifth and final goal of the night after registering a pair of assists on scores by Amanda Green and Natali Mlodzinski in the 49th and 67th minutes, respectively.
"That's why she's in the game, Suozzi said of Murphy. "I know what she can do."
The Seahawks have outscored their opponents 20-0 through the first three rounds of the playoffs, which began with a 12-0 win over Gilbert and a 4-0 triumph over Myrtle Beach. They will get the chance to add to that Monday, when Hilton Head High plays host to Swansea in the Lower State final. The Tigers advanced with a 1-0 win over James Island on Friday evening.
Monday's winner will move on to the state championship May 17 at Gilbert High just outside Columbia, a setting with which Hilton Head High has become quite familiar.
The Seahawks are gunning for their third consecutive state championship and are in the midst of a 13-game postseason winning streak. They haven't lost since a 3-0 defeat to South Aiken in the Lower State final on May 17, 2010, when Haughton-James was a freshman.
Defense has carried the Seahawks through the majority of those victories. Friday's win marked the team's 17th shutout of the season after Hilton Head High registered what is believed to be a school-record 18 shutouts in 2012.
"We take a lot of pride in that," Haughton-James said. "I know that Nikki (Schoning) and all of the defenders, that's one of our main things. We don't get that much credit for the offense ... so we take a lot of pride in the fact that we get shutouts. That means the offense of the other team can't touch us, either."
Hilton Head High 5, Brookland-Cayce 0
Goals: Hilton Head High -- Jordan Haughton-James (17th minute); Kelsey Fitzhugh (27th); Amanda Green (49th); Natali Mlodzinski (67th); Claudia Murphy (77th)