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The Indian Land Warriors picked up the pace in the second half to earn the right to host the Class AA Upper State title match on Tuesday night.
The Warriors, up 1-0 at the half, added three second-half goals on the way to a 4-0 win over Pendleton in the Class AA Upper State semifinals on Saturday, May 11 at IL’s Reservation.
“I thought we showed good composure after a somewhat frustrating opening half,” Indian Land soccer coach Adam Cole said. “We had missed on a few first-half scoring chances, but late in the half we were able to connect and get on the board.”
The Warriors’ Nick Retter, who scored a pair of goals, tallied in the 38th minute to give Indian Land a 1-0 edge at the break.
In the second half at about the 56th minute, IL’s Eric Sandor extended the Warriors lead to 2-0 as he tallied on a penalty kick.
The 18-4 Warriors made it 3-0 as Retter, off an Anthony Cutrone assist, scored his second goal.
“After that goal, we took all of our starters out,” Cole said.
The Warriors kept rolling as IL senior Cameron Davis scored off an assist from Zac Patterson for IL’s final goal.
Indian Land keeper Trevor Hoxworth posted the shutout.
“This really was a team win,” Cole said. “We were able to get our entire team into the action and those players responded with a goal and we were able to complete the shutout.
“We can all be proud of that effort, Cole said. “Our older guys showed maturity by not losing their focus when we missed on some first-half chances, and then our younger players, including some players we brought up from the junior varsity, came in there and completed the job in impressive fashion. It should boost our confidence all the way around.
Defending state champion Academic Magnet hosted Bishop England for the Class AA Lower State title on Tuesday night.
Lady Warriors fall in Upstate finals
Christ Church posted three first-half goals and added a second-half goal to down Indian Land, 4-0 and capture the Class AA Upper State girls soccer championship
Lady Cavaliers senior Meaghan Carrigan scored three goals to spark the winners.
The loss ended IL’s season at 14-5 and halted their deepest advance in school history for girls soccer.
“Our best run was the second round, so this was a special season for the Lady Warriors,” said Indian Land girls soccer coach Mark Bonda. “We made school history with this run and the best part is that we have 10 of 11 starters back for next season.”
The Lady Warriors lone senior is left defender Hannah McGinn.
“We had a good group of players and they worked hard,” Bonda said. “We were a lot more consistent this season and we turned it up in the playoffs and played real well.”
The Lady Warriors earned a bid to the Class AA Upper State title match with a 2-1 road win over St. Joseph’s of Greenville before moving on to face Christ Church, the Upstate’s top seed in Class AA girls.
“In the past, we’ve gone to Christ Church and lost by some pretty lopsided scores, but we played them much better this time around,” Bonda said. “I think we’re starting to get some respect across the state.”
Bonda noted the Lady Warriors had two Class AA all-state players, Shalyn Dougherty and Katherine Kilroy.
“We achieved a great deal this season and we hope to build on this success,” Bonda said.
Defending state champion Christ Church, 20-4, faces Academic Magnet for the state championship at 3 p.m. Friday at Gilbert High School.
Ninety Six tops AJ in AA Upstate semifinals
Andrew Jackson’s valiant rally fell short as host Ninety Six held on for a 5-4 win over the Volunteers in the Class AA Upper State semifinals on Saturday, May 11.
Ninety Six standout forward Grant Dickey tallied the winning goal in the dying moments to lift the Wildcats to the 5-4 win.
Ninety Six took a 3-0 lead in the first half, capitalizing on several AJ defensive errors.
Zach Arioli finally put AJ on the board right before the half, beating the Ninety Six keeper one on one.
Ninety Six scored the fourth goal on a controversial throw-in when the ball did not seem to touch anyone as the ball went into the net.
A throw-in, according to soccer rules, must be touched before going into the goal in order for the score to count.
Determined AJ battled back with three straight goals.
The first goal of the comeback was a McKenzie Denkins header, followed a great strike by Trevor Hammond. The Vols tied the game when John Ware collected a great cross-field ball by Aaron Cullen.
AJ finished the season 16-6, and advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season.
AJ graduates five seniors – Luke Kennington, Cody Ussery, Trevor Hammond, Matthew Woods and Josh “Buck” Clement.
Indian Land hosted Ninety Six on Tuesday in the Upper State championship match.
The Lower State championship will feature perennial Charleston-based powers Academic Magnet and Bishop England.
Academic Magnet is the Class AA defending state champion.