Postseason high school all-star games sometimes lack high-level intensity and drama.
Take the North-South girls all-star soccer game, for example. It could have been a yawner. After all, the players had only one day of practice to get ready for Sunday’s matches. And then there was the weather. The comfort level at Blackbaud Stadium was in the upper 90s, thanks to the heat and humidity.
But Sunday’s North-South girls match defied the odds. There was plenty of intensity, drama — and perspiration.
Wando’s Hannah Ross scored from 20 yards out 75 seconds into stoppage time to give the South a 2-1 victory.
“After the first two minutes, we were dripping with sweat and it was gross,” said Ross, who played on two state championship teams at Wando. “It was humid, but we knew we had to dig down deep.”
In the boys game, the North dominated the South, with a 19-10 advantage in shots en route to a 3-1 victory.
For most of the girls match, the South seemed to have it in the bag. They took a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute when Hilton Head’s Kelsey Fitzhugh scored on an assist from Wando’s Grace Gore.
But the North tied the score in the 77th minute when J.L. Mann’s Elizabeth Oliver scored on an assist from Clover’s Naomi Matley.
But Ross scored on a breakaway to give the South an 8-7-2 advantage in the series.
“After they scored, we looked at each other and knew we had to finish it,” Ross said. “I wanted to score the whole game, so I was glad when it happened. Scoring the winning goal made it even better.”
Sunday’s game was the final match of Ross’ career.
“I am going to Clemson. Today was good, but winning the state championship my senior year was my biggest memory. I got brought up to the varsity for the playoffs when I was a sophomore, and we won the state championship. We didn’t win it last year, so we were worried going into this year’s championship.”
Fitzhugh of Hilton Head was the South MVP, while Matley was the North MVP.
In the boys match, the North opened the scoring in the 42nd minute when Blythe-wood’s Quenten Howard’s service found Gaffney’s Victory Ramirez’s head on the backside for an impressive goal.
Sixteen minutes later, the North increased the lead when Sam Moss of Wren scored unassisted.
The North closed out its scoring when Nick Retter found the back of the net.
Jonathan Glenn of Academic Magnet had the South’s only goal. He scored on a shot assisted by Alan Hernandez of Stall.
Howard was the North’s MVP while Noah Gulley of Waccamaw was the South MVP.
The North won for the first time since 2009 and now leads the series 15-8-2.