High School Sports

Myrtle Beach girls soccer rolls, advances to Lower State finals

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It may be too early to say this is the best team in Myrtle Beach girls soccer history.

The current crop of players have at the very least firmly planted themselves into the discussion.

The Seahawks advanced to the Class AAA Lower State finals with a 2-0 win over Brookland-Cayce on Friday at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. It is the first time Myrtle Beach has reached the state semifinals since 2009, and with a win Monday at Hilton Head, it will advance to its first ever championship game.

“I think this team has a chance to write the record books, leave a legacy,” second-year coach Blair Mueller said. “Myrtle Beach has always been known to be very strong.”

In the immediate and the grand scheme of the state soccer playoffs, Friday’s contest and its meaning had a dramatically different feel for both teams.

Tristan Gordon’s breakaway goal nine minutes in put the Seahawks up 1-0. And while both teams had chances near the other’s goal, the score remained that way Gordon added another with 16 minutes left in regulation.

It was the only two goals either team had allowed in this year’s playoffs. Myrtle Beach had defeated Lakewood and Airport by a combined score of 16-0, while the Bearcats defeated Beaufort and fellow Region VII-AAA squad Wilson by a combined score of 13-0.

Myrtle Beach’s defense, which has allowed only nine goals all season, extended its goal-against streak to include another playoff game.

“They get back, especially after I got hurt in the second round,” Seahawks goalie Gabby Moore said, referring to a right lower leg injury. “I had to depend on them a lot this game. They’re definitely the backbone in the playoffs.”

Along with Gordon’s pair of goals, it’s the reason the Seahawks bucked a recent trend. While they have won at least one playoff game in 10 of the last 11 seasons, they also regularly ran into a team that prevented it from a deep push. Every year between 2010 and 2015, it was either Brookland-Cayce or Hilton Head ending the Seahawks’ run.

They’ve beaten the first, and the latter is on deck.

Myrtle Beach will head south to face a team that swept through its region schedule and also has 18 wins on the season. Hilton Head defeated St. James 4-2 Friday night in the third round to advance to the Lower State title game.

At that time, the two Seahawks programs will meet to determine one of two berths in the state finals, albeit with a different mindset.

“It just reaffirms that they can do it,” Mueller said. “I think if you’re going into those games against the Brookland-Cayces and the Hilton Heads and constantly lose, you go in thinking you’re the underdog. Beating them will give them some confidence, and Hilton Head will be just another team.”

Succeed there, and any debate may be over.

“I feel like we’ve already proved it,” Moore said. “But I want to win one more and make it to states.”

▪ Goals: Myrtle Beach: Tristan Gordon 2

▪ Goalies: Brookland-Cayce Alyssa Stevens (3); Myrtle Beach Gabby Moore (5)

▪ Records: Brookland-Cayce 15-7-2; Myrtle Beach 18-2

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