By Greg Hutton
Special to The Post and Courier
Swansea halted James Island’s six-game winning streak and aspirations of reaching the Lower State championship contest with a 1-0 victory Friday night in the third round of the SCHSL Class AAA girls soccer playoffs.
Stenisha Hallman’s 32nd-minute strike accounted for the only goal in a low-scoring affair at Floyd E. Hiott Jr. Field that lacked quality scoring opportunities for either team.
Sarah DelSignore nearly equalized four minutes after Hallman found the net, but her first-time shot from Mary Cate Bell’s cross soared straight into the arms of Tigers netminder Aubrey Locklear.
Locklear came off her line to stymie Sara Wright in a one-on-one opportunity with 23 minutes remaining and saved another promising shot with two minutes on the clock to seal the victory for Swansea (21-2), the second seed from Region 5-AAA.
“That was a ridiculously good save,” Trojans coach Melissa Frasier said of Wright’s initial attempt. “I would attribute their team’s win tonight to (Locklear’s) ability to keep the ball out of the back of the net.”
James Island overcame the loss of College of Charleston signee Sarah Blakely to claim the No. 2 seed from Region 8-AAA and finish with a 16-4-1 record. Blakely, a senior defender, tore her left ACL on Feb. 6 in a scrimmage against Academic Magnet.
“Blakely is a tremendous talent,” said a teary-eyed Frasier. “She remained a captain and did everything you could ask of a captain. Talent-wise, losing her was a tremendous blow, and it took the team a while to find a shape, and to attack, and (have) composure without her. But she was right there the whole time.”
The Trojans used 3-0 and 2-1 overtime wins against Airport and top-seeded St. James, respectively, to advance to Friday’s contest.
“I just think the girls had a tremendous season,” Frasier said. “We lose eight seniors that were definitely a driving force in our season. But we have a group of young girls that learned what leadership is, and we have a very bright future.”
SCORING BY HALF:
Swansea 1 0 - 1
James Island 0 0 - 0
Swansea, Hallman, 32nd min.
Goals: Swansea – Hallman 1. Records: James Island 16-4-1. Swansea 21-2. Next: Swansea at Hilton Head Island Monday in the Class AAA Lower State championship.
SWANSEA 1, JAMES ISLAND 0
Records: James Island 14-4. Swansea 21-2.
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