NORTH CHARLESTON -- Academic Magnet boys soccer coach Jason Hamil isn't much for halftime speeches, but there comes a time when every coach must give one.
Mac Koewler scored two goals and Jay Gervais added another -- all in the second half -- as Academic Magnet defeated Hanahan, 3-0, on Saturday at Attaway-Heinsohn Field in the Class AA Lower State semifinals.
The Raptors (17-4) play Tuesday at Bishop England -- a 2-1 winner over Silver Bluff -- with a state title game berth on the line.
After a sluggish first half that saw plenty of possessions but little to show for it, Hamil let his feelings be known at halftime.
"That's why they have halftimes," Hamil said. "You try to go in there and make a few adjustments, and you light a little fire and you get guys to start playing to their level.
"I thought we played to our strengths a little bit more in the second half instead of letting the defense dictate what we were going to do on the attack. We can't come out with another flat first half the rest of the way, that's for sure."
Koewler said Hamil's halftime speech
served its purpose.
"We needed to come out with more of a desire to score," Koewler said. "That wasn't there in the first half."
After a scoreless first half, Koewler scored less than three minutes into the second half when he collected a rebound inside the 18-yard box and slammed it home for the goal.
Four minutes later, Koewler pushed the Raptors' advantage to 2-0 with his second goal.
"I guess I was just in the right place at the right time for both goals," Koewler said.
Sophomore Wyatt Ball anchored a solid defensive effort for the Raptors, who allowed just a handful of shots and only one good scoring chance.
"We kept a really good shape and had a strong line," Ball said. "We kept everything in front of us and didn't let them get behind us."
Gervais added the final goal with 23:40 left.
The Bishops beat the Raptors, 3-0, in their only meeting during the regular season.
"It was probably the worst game we've played all season," Hamil said. "I think we're all looking forward to the challenge. They've been kind of the benchmark around here for a while."