The message painted across the chests and bellies of some fans in the crowd at the Class 3A girls soccer championship read “We believe in Chapin,” and the Eagles never stopped believing.
Chapin fell 1-0 to Hilton Head Island – but not for lack of trying.
“We didn’t give up, we had our chances all the way through the game,” coach Bob Taylor said. “If you look at the scores over the past couple of years, not many people hold them to one goal, so we have that to hang on to.”
The Eagles (18-6) held Hilton Head scoreless in the first half, and Taylor told his team that victory was within their grasp.
Hilton Head coach Ernie Suozzi said he switched his team to a more offensive formation for the second half, “and that created some gaps in the back. And when the Green sisters get the ball, a little magic happens.”
Eight minutes into the second half, Seahawks forward Amanda Green used an assist from twin sister Ashley to punch in a crossing goal past Chapin keeper Paige Whitehurst.
Whitehurst’s assertive play in goal was key to the close game for the Eagles.
“She’s had a tremendous year. She was tremendous back there and has been a great leader for us,” Taylor said. “She had 78 saves this year, and I bet she had at least 20 tonight.”
“I just wanted to give it my all, for my team and my seniors,” said Whitehurst, who finished with nine saves.
“The shots came, but I saved what I could.”
The four-time champion Seahawks (22-2) kept Chapin’s defense on its toes. Their kinetic offense tallied its first shot on goal after less than five minutes and kept the ball on Chapin’s end much of the first half.
Although Chapin never gathered the offensive steam the Seahawks showed, the Eagles had their chances.
Chapin’s final push, with under six minutes left to play, ended in a Samantha Wammock save.
“I thought one goal would stand, but that last 20 minutes, we were just hoping to keep it in front of us,” Suozzi said.
“Time just ran out on us, we didn’t quit,” Taylor said. “I’m pleased with the effort, even though I’m not pleased with the outcome.”