COLUMBIA --League rivals Pinewood Prep and Hilton Head Christian Academy met for the third time this season on Saturday, this time to decide the girls' SCISA Class AAA state championship.
After splitting two regular season matchups, Pinewood Prep won the season series and took home the trophy, winning, 5-0, at Heathwood Hall.
The championship was Pinewood Prep's third overall, the first since 2010. Coach Gail Osborne's squad finishes this season with an 18-3-1 record.
"No way did I expect this type of score, not against that team," said Osborne. "We were confident that we could win but I knew it would take every single player showing up today. This was not our same team that showed up a few weeks ago when we lost 3-0 to Hilton Head Christian."
Pinewood Prep pulled an upset to reach the finals, knocking off favored Cardinal Newman on Thursday night. Osborne felt it was important that her team not feel overconfident going into the finals.
"I was a little worried about how we would start today, coming off the win over Cardinal Newman on Thursday," the coach said. "I told the girls to not let that win be for nothing, to go out and win the state championship. I am so proud of this team. It has been a whole team effort for the entire season."
Hilton Head Christian was the more aggressive offensive team in the first 20 minutes, peppering several shots near the goal with no success.
Pinewood Prep had one key surge that resulted in a goal when Kaylee Kemp tipped in a loose ball near the goal for a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute of the half.
Six minutes later, Pinewood Prep's Katie Black out-ran two HHCA defenders down the sideline with the ball and centered a perfect pass to Charlotte Ring, who blistered the left corner of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Hilton Head Christian upped the pressure to start the second half but was unable to break through with a goal. Midway through the second half, Pinewood Prep made it 3-0 with a goal from Summer Ricciardi, off a pass from Ring.
"I knew the first 10 minutes of the second half was going to be very important," said Osborne. "At 2-0, if we allow a quick goal, it's wide open again. We were able to hold them off and then we got it going on the offensive end."
In the 27th minute of the half, Pinewood Prep's Kaley Katsanis scored on a free kick after a hand ball, finding the back of the net from 25 yards out for a 4-0 lead.
Ring tallied her second goal with five minutes remaining for the final margin.
"We had great seniors who led on and off the field, and this team was very close," said Osborne. "It's one of the most satisfying seasons I have had as coach. This team accomplished so much."