WHS soccer teams compete for state championships – Coastal Observer


WHS soccer teams compete for state championships

Trey Jones, center, celebrates after scoring the opening goal that helped sent the WHS boys to their first state title match.

Eleven times in the last 23 years the Waccamaw High School boys soccer team advanced to the Lower State final and lost.

The 12th time was the charm as the Warriors beat Hanahan 3-1 on Monday and will play for the Class 3A state title on Friday, That will be right after Waccamaw’s girls play for their second straight state soccer title.

“It’s a relief,” boys’ coach Joel Sapp said. “It’s about time.”

“It’s something we’ve been waiting for all four years,” said Trey Jones, one of the team’s 12 seniors. “It’s probably the best feeling in my life.” 

“It feels absolutely amazing. Words can’t describe it,” said Truman Miller, a senior. “We’ve been working so hard towards it these past three years, it feels so great to finally be here.”

Sapp was a member of the first Waccamaw boys soccer team to play for a Lower State title in 2001. He was also a player, assistant coach or head coach for 10 of the other losses.

Waccamaw’s girls beat Camden 7-3 in the Lower State final on Tuesday.

“It’s awesome. This is special,” Warriors coach Mark Sanchez said. “I told the girls, ‘I did not want it to end here.’ If we’re going to lose our title let’s lose it in Columbia. And they pulled through.”

The girls were rarely challenged last year on their way to a 23-1 record and the program’s second state title.

This year was different. The Warriors lost a handful of players to season-ending injuries and have a 16-6-1 record going into the championship game.

“We knew we were going to be good but it seemed like obstacles were always in our way,” Sanchez said. “The resilience of these girls is just amazing. … The heart, the desire we’ve seen is just amazing.”

“Last year we had an unbelievable season and it was just crazy,” said Maris Jennings, a senior. “This year we’ve had to work really hard. We’ve had a lot more battles that we’ve had to fight. We’ve had some ups and downs with a lot of injuries. It just shows during playoffs how bad everyone wants to win.”

When the girls only won four of their first seven games, Harper Royal, a senior, was scared.

“It’s crazy because of all the ups and downs we’ve had this season,” Royal said. “But we’ve really proven ourselves through the playoffs and pushed ourselves and showed that we deserve this title and we’re going to get it on Friday.”

The boys are 22-6 on the season. It’s the most wins in school history for a boys soccer team.

“We’ve been building this thing for three years with this goal,” Sapp said. “We’ve just got to stay the course.”

The boys absorbed early pressure from Hanahan, but gained the opened the scoring with a goal by Jones on the second touch of a corner kick by Charlie Withington in the 14th minute.

They took a 2-0 lead into the break when the keeper bobbled the ball and Hampton Eirvin pounced.

Jason Green-Adams capped the scoring in the 62nd minute with a tap-in of Graham Schuyler’s cross.

The visitors got a goal back in stoppage time after Waccamaw put in their subs.

The boys beat Philip Simmons 1-0 in the Lower State semifinals. 

The teams were scoreless at the half despite a early header from Jake DiMaria that the keeper bobbled on the goal line before recovering in the opening minutes. 

Nick Diamond scored in the 55th minute on a cross from Jones that was struck a defender. Diatmond was there for the rebound.

Jasper Brooks made four saves in goal.

“The group of seniors we have, we’re all so close,” Jones said. “We’re just a close team. We’re all friends. We keep each other hyped when we need it.”

In the girls’ win over Camden, Meaghan Matthews had two goals; Maris Jennings had one goal and two assists; Avery Milling and Lilah Jennings each had one goal and one assist; Halina Gregory and Skylar Schoen each had one goal; and Emily Lorenzo had an assist.

Sophie Jackson made seven saves in goal.

The girls beat Gilbert 8-0 in the Lower State semifinals.

Maris Jennings and Lindsay Latimer each had hat tricks, with Jennings scoring in the first minute after the Warriors sliced through the Gilbert defense.

Gregory scored on a penalty kick and had two assists. Milling scored on a rebound. Lilah Jennings assisted on two goals; Lorenzo assisted on another.

Jackson made two saves.

The girls will play Powdersville at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at Memorial Stadium in Columbia. 

“We have the experience and we have great leaders,” Sanchez said. “When you win one, the biggest thing is you’re happy with one and you’re satisfied. We weren’t. We’ve got to stay hungry.”

“There’s definitely going to be those nerves but I think if we go into it confidently we’ll do well,” Royal said. “We just need to play how we play and if we lose, we lose it ourselves.”

Maris Jennings will tell the girls who weren’t on the team last year to “leave it all out there and savor every single moment.”

“It’s so special to go that far with a team,” she said. “Soak up every moment and have no regrets.”

About 20 minutes after the girls game is over, the boys will play Daniel.

“We’ve got to focus. The job definitely isn’t finished,” Miller said. “It’s going to be a hard game for sure.”



Georgetown County Board of Education: First and third Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Beck Education Center. For details, go to gcsd.k12.sc.us. Georgetown County Council: Second and fourth Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Council Chambers, 129 Screven St., Georgetown. For details, go to georgetowncountysc.org. Pawleys Island Town Council: Second Mondays, 5 p.m. Town Hall, 323 Myrtle Ave. For details, go to townofpawleysisland.com.   , .