High School Sports

Beaufort Academy girls win, advance to state title game

One goal, then two, then three.

With each Trinity Collegiate score, Beaufort Academy girls soccer coach David Byrne added a little bit more urgency to his pleas.

"Dig deep, Eagles," he urged from the sideline.

What once was a four-goal lead had been trimmed to one, as Trinity Collegiate eighth-grader Allie Young scored a hat trick in a 15-minute span.

One whistle, then two, then three.

Byrne relaxed, and Beaufort Academy celebrated moving on to the SCISAA Class 2-A/1-A championship game after a 4-3 home victory Thursday.

"It's a good lesson for the girls," Byrne said. "Soccer is a close game, and for about 15 minutes there, we just had a tough time. The girls played brilliant soccer for 65 minutes and then had a little bit of a letdown. We'll go over some things tomorrow to keep that from happening again."

Until Young's late scoring flurry, the Eagles (12-1-2) had dominated in every facet.

They took a 2-0 lead into halftime after goals from Caroline Fontenot and Miranda Weslake, and that duo added a goal apiece in the first 20 minutes of the second half to make it 4-0.

The Eagles barely allowed the Titans (13-3) to challenge keeper Charlotte Delfosse, and they contained Young -- until the final 16 minutes. She got Trinity Collegiate on the board with a long strike from the left side, added another goal off a free kick six minutes later and trimmed the margin to one goal with less than two minutes to play.

But the Titans ran out of time, and the defending state champion Eagles moved on to face either Oakbrook Prep or Lowcountry Prep at 3 p.m. Saturday at Porter-Gaud in Charleston.

Like last year, when the Eagles beat Trinity Collegiate in the championship game, Beaufort Academy will be without Weslake, who is committed to play for her club team in the S.C. Youth Soccer Association State Cup on Saturday in Rock Hill.

Winning becomes more difficult without their leading scorer, but Byrne said his team "elevates" when Weslake is absent, and he feels enough players have developed into scoring threats to pick up the slack.

"Offensively, I'm really excited because we're getting goals from other people," Byrne said. "We're moving the ball well, and we're getting great through-balls. The goal distribution this year has been unbelievable."

Said Fontenot:

"We've beat some really tough teams before without Miranda, so I think we can do it. We'll be fine as long as the defense steps up. Everyone just has to play their game."