Well before her first varsity fixture with Myrtle Beach, Tristan Gordon understood exactly what type of tradition she was stepping into.
“Of course, you always want to play your best,” she said, “but we also kind of want to keep the region championship with Myrtle Beach, it’s become kind of a longstanding tradition.”
And during her past few years wearing the Myrtle Beach crest, she has done a good job serving as a keeper of the realm.
Particularly this past soccer season, with Gordon scoring 31 goals while assisting on 10 more. For her work, she earned Region VII-4A girls soccer Player of the Year honors, along with being a Class 4A all-state selection.
She’s not done raking in honors, though, as the Myrtle Beach standout is The Sun News’ Toast of the Coast Girls Soccer Player of the Year. It is the second straight year in which she has received the honor, one that for her does not grow old.
“This is a big honor,” Gordon said. “Because this is something not just for our region, but along the coast … so I’m particularly proud of this.”
Over the course of her career, she has become one of the more prolific scorers the Palmetto State has to offer.
As a freshman, she tallied a career-high 36 goals, following that up with 35 more as a sophomore. This past soccer campaign was the third in a row in which she hit the back of the next 30 or more times.
However, one of those proved particularly special.
“I think the highlight of my year was scoring my 100th goal,” Gordon said. “Honestly, I didn’t really know it was going to be my 100th [until] I got it. It really was an awesome honor.”
Oddly enough, the Myrtle Beach standout’s scoring tally could be more impressive — if not for a policy set for her coach, Blair Mueller, limiting goals for each player in an effort to keep all team members engaged and involved. That’s just fine, though, as Gordon would rather make waves with her teammates rather than doing so alone.
“We’re building a strong bond that cannot be broken,” she said. “These are people I want to be my friends for some time to come, and winning with them is fun.”
A lot of that satisfaction comes along with knowing how difficult it is to succeed in their league, Region VII-4A, where rivals North Myrtle Beach and St. James pose quite the threat each year.
“Each year, it’s tough … you come to expect pretty tight competition (when playing those teams),” Gordon said. “They both have good club players, but we want to play our game and not allow them to dictate how we will play.”
The formula has worked out well, with the Seahawks going 34-12 over the past two years and winning a league title in both. Myrtle Beach has continued its roll in the postseason, advancing to the Lower State semifinal round once again, falling to fellow perennial powerhouse Hilton Head Island, 1-0.
Getting over the hump remains a goal Gordon hopes to achieve in her last year wearing the Myrtle Beach crest.
“Of course, we’d like to win region, but getting as far as we can in the playoffs is a goal we have too,” she said. “Myrtle Beach has always been pretty good at soccer. Hopefully, we can continue in that tradition.”
This is the fifth installment in a 10-day series honoring the top athletes from the spring high school sports season. Tomorrow: Boys soccer
2017 Toast of the Coast Girls Soccer Team
Player of the Year
School: Myrtle Beach
Notable: Scored 31 goals and notched 10 assists this past season, helping lead the Seahawks to a Region VII-4A title. During the 2017 campaign, she scored the 100th goal of her prep career.
Illene De Los Santos
School: St. James
Notable: Played a key role in the midfield for the Sharks, allowing them to again qualify for postseason play, and her earning the distinction as an all-Region VII-4A first team performer.
Notable: Hit the back of the net 16 times, though her biggest contribution was as a distributor, dishing out 30 assists for the Warriors en route to claiming Region VI-3A Player of the Year honors, in addition to being a Class 3A all-state and North-South all-star selection — not to mention finishing at the top of her class academically.
School: St. James
Notable: The Sharks veteran midfielder earned all-Region VII-4A distinction following a solid senior season at “The Shark Tank.”
School: North Myrtle Beach
Notable: The Chiefs forward and midfielder hit the back of the net more than 20 times this past season, earning her the nod as Region VII-4A Player of the Year.
Notable: A key contributor for the Braves this past season, she scored 17 goals in helping lead the club to an undefeated run through Region VI-5A.
School: Carolina Forest
Notable: One of the younger players on the Panthers girls soccer squad, she was among the team leaders in scoring, allowing her to earn all-Region VI-5A honors.
Sarah Alston Phillips
Notable: Finished season 14-3 in the net, with 10 clean sheets among those. She saved 52 shots during the season.
Notable: Had 22 goals and eight assists for the Warriors en route to earning all-Region VI-3A distinction.
School: Myrtle Beach
Notable: Had 10 goals and 13 assists for the Seahawks, helping lead the club to a Region VI-5A title. For her work, she was named an all-region performer.
Notable: Led team in both major categories, scoring 22 goals while also notching 11 assists. Was named Region VI-5A Player of the Year after helping lead her club to an undefeated run through the league.
Notable: The Braves forward scored only five goals, but her best work came on the defense, earning her all-Region VI-5A honors.
Coach of the Year
Notable: The Warriors head man led the club to a 16-6 record, which includes an undefeated run through Region VI-3A play. His team won a pair of playoff games before bowing out to Bishop England in the Lower State semifinal round.