Sometimes it’s better to be lucky, than good.
The third-ranked Fort Mill Yellow Jackets got their lone goal of the game on a deflection to beat the ninth-ranked Blythewood Bengals 1-0 in the second round of the 4A state girls’ soccer playoffs.
The teams had already seen each other once this year with Fort Mill getting a 1-0 win over the Bengals in the Viking Cup at the start of the regular season.
Fort Mill got its lone goal from senior Bailey Rich on a deflection from senior Cassidy Parker with about 17 minutes left in the game.
“The props go to Bailey,” said Fort Mill coach Ryan Morris. “She has been practicing that move a lot.”
The Jackets move on to the third round Friday at home where they will play the winner of the Dorman-T.L. Hanna match.
Fort Mill got to more loose balls in the second half early on as it controlled possession in the beginning.
The Yellow Jackets were more aggressive in the second half as they cut off the passing lanes. Despite its control of the ball, Fort Mill wasn’t able to get off but one shot in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Blythewood had two shots on goal on a single possession, with about 23 minutes left, but Fort Mill keeper Samantha Whitley was able to stop the first shot and deflect the second one.
The Jackets had several good looks at the goal in the second half, bouncing a couple shots off the side post and the crossbar.
Morris credited sophomore Alyssa Smith, who had several shot attempts just miss, with getting open more in the second half.
“The adjustment with using Alyssa’s speed got them pinned back a lot,” he said.
Both teams came out playing physical to open the game. There was a total of 26 fouls called in the game, 15 against Fort Mill. There were three yellow cards handed out, two of them to the Bengals.
In the first half neither team grabbed control, but Blythewood stayed on offense more forcing Fort Mill to stay poised and focused.
Fort Mill tried to gain control, but the Bengals kept a strong back wall up forcing the Jackets into turnovers. Parker had the Yellow Jackets’ first clean look at a shot about eight minutes into the game, but sent the ball sailing over the goal.
Fort Mill struggled in clearing the ball and the Bengals crowded the ball causing the Jackets to not get clear looks during potential shot attempts.
Defensively, Fort Mill kept a pretty tight wall as well but was pushed to the limits as Blythewood started controlling possession.
Parker got a yellow card for incidental collision with Blythewood’s keeper Hannah Cowan with about 21 minutes to go in the first half trying to make something happen on the Bengals’ side of the field.
Blythewood seemed to anticipate Fort Mill’s passes and frequently intercepted them.
Fort Mill had one legitimate shot on goal in the first half, but Cowan was right there to make the deflection.
Fort Mill 1, Blythewood 0
FM – Bailey Rich, 64:12
Shots on goal: Blythewood 3, Fort Mill 6
Saves: Hannah Cowan (B) 3, Samantha Whitley (FM) 3
Corner kicks: Blythewood 2, Fort Mill 1
Records: Blythewood 15-4-0, Fort Mill 20-1-1.