West all-stars capture pee wee county crown

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By Eric Rowell

Lancaster County West captured the Lancaster County Parks and Recreation pee wee soccer championship on Saturday when it edged the Lancaster County East all-stars 2-1 in overtime at the Melvin Steele Soccer Complex.

The West, which went unbeaten in postseason play, tallied from the left side as center forward Evan Hardin found the back of the net. The West stars opened the scoring as Garrett Watts tallied. The East stars tied the match at 1-1 as Chandler King scored. West keeper Kendra Haddox had an impressive save on a penalty kick to keep the match tied and force the OT.

"We hung in there today and didn't give up," West stars coach Jimmy Abbott said. "We had a tremendous three-match stretch. These youngsters were able to come together and play together as a team in a short time. They did well."

The double-elimination pee wee all-star county playoffs opened with the North defeating the South 1-0 and the West defeating the East 2-0. In the elimination round, the East downed the South and the West stayed unbeaten with a 5-0 win over the North stars. The East then eliminated the North stars in a sudden death shootout. The West stars included four Lancaster teams, while the East, led by Susan Small, included four Buford teams and a Lancaster unit.

The North team featured four Indian Land area teams. The South stars were comprised of two Heath Springs teams, a Kershaw team and a Lancaster squad. Mike Schoeppner led the North team and the South was led by Craig Lilly.

The Lancaster County Parks and Recreation Commission has three youth soccer all-star teams playing in the S.C. Athletic Programs state tournament this weekend in the Charleston area. The 12-under all-stars, led by Mike Schoeppner, play Seneca at 10 a.m. The 10-under all-stars, of coach Greg Jacobs, meet Pickens at 11:15 a.m., with the 13-under stars meeting Walhalla at 11:15. The 13-under stars are led by coach Johnny Dukes.

The Lancaster County teams will represent the Central District. The winners of the first round advance to the state championship match, with the losers slated to go to the consolation round. "We wish all of our teams success," said Lancaster County Parks and Recreation Commission youth soccer coordinator Hal Hiott. Each team is guaranteed two matches in the tournament.

All matches will be played at Patriots Point, hosted by the Mt. Pleasant Recreation Department. Admission to the matches is $3 for adults and $2 for students.