Torlay, Wando seek more state championship success

Wando’s Rachel Torlay scored the only goal in the 2011 state championship match to give the Warriors the title.

Wade Spees

Wando senior Rachel Torlay has been a key figure in two Class AAAA soccer state championships.

In 2010, Torlay had Wando’s lone goal in regulation against Mauldin, scoring on a penalty kick in the 51st minute. Wando went on to win, 2-1, in an epic 11-round penalty-kick shootout.

In 2011, Torlay scored from seven yards in the 22nd minute against Mauldin as the Warriors repeated as state champs with a 1-0 victory.

Today, Torlay plays in her final game as a member of the Wando team. The Warriors go after their third state title in four years in a 7 p.m. showdown against J.L. Mann at Gilbert High School.

“Obviously, it is really important to go out with a win,” said Torlay, a two-time all-state selection. “Hopefully, we’ll play well together and finish with a win.

“I definitely don’t mind playing in pressure situations, but we win because it takes a team effort. I couldn’t do it without the help of my teammates.”

Wando received a scare last week in the second round of the playoffs. Torlay was injured when she collided with an opposing player in the Warriors’ 1-0 victory over Dutch Fork. She missed the next game — a 4-0 victory against South Aiken.

That made coach Shannon Champ contemplate life without Torlay, who will graduate in two weeks.

“I don’t know how I replace her,” Champ said. “I don’t know if I would use the word ‘worried,’ but I was concerned when she wasn’t out on the field.”

Torlay has been on the varsity team for four years and has enjoyed great success, helping the Warriors post a cumulative 87-4 record. She has played soccer at all levels, including micro, recreation, club and premier. She has played in many all-star games and showcase events.

In July, she will play in The Clash of the Carolinas, an all-star game that features the top seniors from South Carolina against their counterparts from North Carolina.

While many players suffer from burnout after years of competition, Torlay said she still loves to play the game.

“I enjoy it so much,” she said. “I have fun every time I step onto the field. I play basketball, but I enjoy soccer more.”

Torlay will attend the University of South Carolina in the fall and plans to pursue a career in nursing. Champ has encouraged Torlay to talk to Gamecocks coach Shelley Smith about joining the team as a walk-on.

“I plan to play in college, even if it is just for fun,” Torlay said. “It might be intramural or club. I don’t know at what level, but I do know it will be fun.”