High School Sports

Seahawks score by the bunch, blank Socastee to open girls soccer playoffs

Ernie Suozzi is having a blast.

It's hard to blame him. Not with the way his Hilton Head Island High girls soccer team is rolling through its opposition.

"They're fun to watch," coach Ernie Suozzi said. "I love coaching them just because they're so much fun. The creativity (they have) ... I want them to do things that are stupid. I want to do things out of the ordinary."

The Seahawks cruised yet again on Monday in the Class 3-A playoff opener, as Suozzi's bunch hammered Socastee 10-0 in a game that wasn't even that close. Hilton Head High jumped out front in the ninth minute on a goal by Kelsey Fitzhugh and never looked back.

The junior was one of three Seahawks to net a pair of goals in the victory while four others also cracked the scoring column.

"It's pretty exciting," said Bridgette Noonan, who also tallied two goals. "I didn't think it was going to be this easy, honestly. But we came out and put it to them."

Noonan certainly had a valid reason to expect a tougher challenge from the Braves. After all, this was the same Socastee club that dropped a narrow 2-0 decision to Hilton Head High in late March.

But this is a different Seahawks team, as scary as that may sound to opposing teams.

"I just think throughout the year we got better," Nicholette Schoning said. "We've learned how to work better."

Schoning's goal in the 35th minute sent Hilton Head High into the break with a 4-0 advantage, which proved to be more than enough for the Seahawks (20-2).

But it was Noonan's initial goal that highlighted the first half, as the junior's ball glanced off the outstretched fingertips of goalkeeper Kelly Komnick in the 26th minute to give Hilton Head High a 3-0 lead. Emily Crick also netted a score for the Seahawks before intermission.

The second half was much of the same, as Noonan jumpstarted the onslaught with her second goal in the 43rd minute before Fitzhugh capped off her night with another score in the 52nd. After Jessica Bonilla pushed the lead to 8-0 with a pair of goals within a three-minute span, Rebecca Johnston and Faith Lifer capped the barrage with a goal apiece.

Just another night for the Seahawks.

"I expect them to do this because I've seen what they do at practice," Suozzi said. "I throw stuff out at practice that is at such a different level than a lot of high schools."

The Braves (8-11-1) learned that firsthand. Only Megan Hurn got off a shot attempt for Socastee, which was outshot a whopping 40-1 by the Seahawks.

That naturally left freshman goal keeper Lauryn Bush a little bit bored.

"They didn't really need me," she said. "I had one ball down there and I cleared it."

The Seahawks now turn their attention to the second round, where they will face either Chapin or Hartsville Wednesday evening at Seahawks Stadium. Not that Suozzi is concerned about Hilton Head High's next opponent.

"I don't try to worry about what anybody else does," he said. "I just focus on what we have to do. If we do what we have to do, the other team is going to have to focus on us."

Hilton Head High 10, Socastee 0

Goals -- Kelsey Fitzhugh (9th, 52nd); Bridgette Noonan (26th, 43rd); Jessica Bonilla (57th, 60th); Emily Crick (12th); Nicolette Schoning (35th); Rebecca Johnston (62nd); Faith Lifer (67th).