The Hilton Head Island girls soccer team lives for the playoffs.
For three straight years, it's there they have thrived and found the ultimate success. Wednesday night's 5-1 win over visiting Brookland-Cayce showed that a fourth straight state title might not be such an outlandish possibility.
The Seahawks dominated from start to finish, using their superb offensive attack to dismantle the Bearcats. They were so good, in fact, that they nearly scored just 15 seconds into the game, but a Hilton Head shot went wide righte of the post.
That Hilton Head Island was only up three at halftime was mostly down to bad luck. The Seahawks saw one shot carom off the crossbar and possibly over the line only to have it ruled as no goal and saw a penalty shot turned down early in the half.
Freshman Estelle Murphy opened the scoring just 11 minutes in, firing a left-footed shot low into the right corner. Then, with 17 minutes to play in the first half, senior Amanda Green somehow worked her way into the penalty area, dipping and ducking around three defenders, before lobbing her shot into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Freshman Esther Anderson joined the fray with a gallop down the right sideline, cutting inside in time to bank a shot in off the left post.
The Seahawks have undergone a considerable turnover in personnel over the course of three consecutive state titles. As such, head coach Ernie Suozzi has relied on a youth movement up front for goals, including Anderson, Murphy and freshman Lexi Lainhart. On Wednesday, each did their part to carry the day and push their side closer to another title.
"We're all really close and we just find each other really well," Anderson said. "We're going to take every game one by one and see how it goes and play our best."
The home team found the going a little more rough in the second half, creating fewer chances on goal and suffering one head-scratching defensive breakdown. Some confusion at the back left Seahawks keeper Samantha Wammock far from the net. A Bearcats player pounced on the lose ball to cut the lead to two, but they would come no closer.
Senior Ashley Green scored from the penalty spot with 13:05 remaining, and sophomore Claudia Murphy provided the finishing touches with another goal just over three minutes from full time.
The Seahawks will now face Myrtle Beach and face their first road game of the playoffs Friday.
"The road won't bother us," Suozzi said. "Going on the road, it won't matter to these guys. They just want to play."