High School Sports

Hilton Head High girls avoid early upset, top Myrtle Beach

It was the kind of situation that seemed ripe for an upset -- a scoreless tie at halftime despite the favored home team controlling play for most of the first half -- and after the past two postseasons, the Hilton Head High girls soccer team has had its fill of upsets.

Not this time, the Seahawks said. Not this night.

"We knew we had 40 minutes left and 40 minutes to score, and we knew we didn't want to go home early," junior midfielder Megan Farrell said. "At halftime, we pretty much said, 'You know, we've been out here since summer training. There's no reason that we should go home.' "

Indeed, Farrell answered that call when she scored with a 25-yard strike off a Chynna Bachman set piece in the 43rd minute, and Amanda Greene fed Cayla Hennessey for another goal 14 minutes later to push Hilton Head High to a 2-0 victory over Myrtle Beach in the second round of the Class 3-A playoffs.

"As long as we get the opportunities, we're eventually going to finish," Hilton Head High coach Ernie Suozzi said. "We'll wear you down."

And perhaps weariness from a four-hour bus ride began to catch up to Myrtle Beach (14-6), as Hilton Head High kept the pressure on and converted early in the second half after missing several scoring chances in the first.

Bachman's free kick found its way to Farrell, who was alone well outside the 18-yard line and had a clear look at the goal.

"I don't think they saw me," Farrell said. "I think they were pretty worried about marking up inside the box and not as worried about what someone could do outside of it. We just took advantage of that."

Hilton Head High (18-4-2) added to the lead in the 57th minute, when Greene slotted a pass into the box for Hennessey, who redirected it into the back of the net for a crucial insurance goal.

With the two-goal advantage, the host Seahawks were able to play more conservatively and take away the potential for a counterattack.

"When it's only a 1-0 game, it's pretty much like having zeroes on the scoreboard," Hennessey said. "You're nervous the whole time, and every time it's not on your half, you're freaking out. Once we got that second goal, we calmed down and we were more comfortable."

Myrtle Beach, on the other hand, never really settled in. The visiting Seahawks managed only six shots on goal, and few of them really challenged Hilton Head High goalie Maraia Tremarelli.

"It took us off our game a little bit, because their outside is so strong, and that's usually where we kind of like to go," Myrtle Beach coach Beth Tucci said. "We didn't quite match up the way we needed to."

And Hilton Head High likes the way it matches up with the remaining teams in the Lower State bracket. The second-ranked Seahawks will host No. 5 Airport on Friday, and the Brookland-Cayce/St. James winner will await the victor.

After losing to South Aiken in the Lower State playoffs each of the past two years, anything less than their first trip to the state championship game since winning it all in 2008 will be a disappointment for the Seahawks.

"We've got three more to go," Suozzi said. "They know what it felt like to lose last year on our home field, so hopefully we don't get that taste again. We want to win it all."