Summerville 5, Stratford 0

SUMMERVILLE — The Summerville Green Wave girls' soccer team completed its second straight shutout to open the playoffs in a relatively easy 5-0 victory over the Stratford Knights. After tuning up their game, the level of competition is about to take a serious turn upward.

"The first two rounds are usually inclusive with the format the High School League uses. Everybody has an opportunity to play and there have been some upsets," Summerville coach Bob Polk said after Wednesday's victory at Summerville Memorial Stadium.

"If you're competitive, it's still part of the season. It's important to be ready to play everybody."

In two games, the Green Wave has dispatched Richland Northeast and Stratford by a combined score of 12-0. Summerville, which has home field advantage through the AAAA Lower State playoffs, will play James Island on Friday.

Senior Cathryn Berry scored two goals in the first half for a 2-0 Summerville lead at intermission, and she assisted on a third goal in the second half. Karlie Kunkle scored on a cross from Sarah Gilliam, and SaraBeth Perry finished the scoring with a point-blank shot in the final 10 minutes.

Polk was pleased that nearly everyone on his roster was able to get into the game and that he considered the game "competitive." He wasn't happy with the disparity in fouls called, as Summerville (18-4) was whistled for 15 and Stratford only one. Even in that situation, he was grateful for the learning experience it provided his team.

"You are not always going to get the calls to go in your favor, and you have to be ready to play the way it's being called and I thought they did it," he said. "The good news is we were good enough to win in spite of it. We're in the third round and that's what it's all about."

Goalkeeper Alex Biller will get credit for the shutout, but in reality, more credit goes to her teammates for creating an uneventful night near the Green Wave goal. Biller only needed to make one save, and that was in the closing minutes.

Otherwise, she might have gotten her hands on the ball half a dozen times.

Summerville's forwards kept the pressure on Stratford (7-7) throughout the game. The Green Wave took 32 shots on goal, constantly driving the ball down the right sideline to set up crosses. When the Knights tried to clear the ball, it usually ended up at the feet of a Summerville midfielder or defender and they would dump the ball right back into Straford territory. By the second half, Summerville was creating more of its scoring chances on breakaways to the goal.

Summerville opened the scoring midway through the first half when Lesley Sweat made a short crossing pass from the right side of the penalty box to Berry, who gathered the ball in front of the net and drove a six-yard shot into the left side of the net.

Berry added a goal during stoppage time after Gilliam screened off the keeper in front of the net and tried to fire a quick shot in before the Knights' defenders collapsed on her. The ball hit the right post and caromed toward Berry, who finished the play.

Berry missed her chance for a hat trick on a breakaway early in the second half. Her shot from the right side was deflected by Stratford keeper Lynsey Phillips, but Sweat was in perfect position to finish.