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Fort Mill wins Invitational

Although you may host a tournament, winning it isn't always a given. Just ask Fort Mill High School's girls.

Fort Mill's Yellow Jackets won the fourth annual BB&T Fort Mill Invitational for the first time Sunday morning, beating Hilton Head High 3-1 at the Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex in Rock Hill.

"Our goal was to win it," Fort Mill coach Ryan Morris said. "In four years, we haven't won it and we are the host team."

The 22-team event played over three days had teams from four states, and included York County schools Nation Ford, Northwestern, Rock Hill, Clover and York.

Ranked fifth in Class AAAA, Fort Mill improved to 6-1-1. Hilton Head, ranked ninth in Class AAA, fell to 3-2-0.

Senior Taylor Parker had struggled for the Yellow Jackets, scoring twice on her previous 18 shot attempts. She scored five goals over the final two days of the BB&T, including a hat trick Saturday night in the 3-0 win against First Presbyterian Day of Macon, Ga.

"I had a dry spell at the beginning of the season," Parker said. "I decided coming into the tournament not to worry as much about scoring."

Parker opened the championship game with a breakaway goal at 12minutes, 37seconds to erase the scoreless tie and put Fort Mill on the board. Fort Mill didn't control the ball as much against Hilton Head as it had during the tournament against other opponents, but did take advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves.

The Yellow Jackets went ahead 2-0 just seven minutes later when senior Becca Tooley scored. The goal gave Fort Mill the cushion needed going into the half.

With a constant stream of rain during the second half, Fort Mill didn't slow down.

The Yellow Jackets were consistent defensively for the entire game. Senior Alexis McLaine played nearly flawless in the goal. She had eight saves on the10 shots sent her way.

Hilton Head's goal came during the final 10 seconds. Senior Jean Weisner launched a shot from near midfield that just skimmed under the cross bar and into the back of the net, way over the head and reach of McLaine.

Nearly 30 minutes into the second half, Fort Mill added its third and final goal when Parker bent the ball in on a free kick that put the Yellow Jackets up 3-0 at 69:43.

Fort Mill has been on the verge of winning a state title for years after winning the past six Region 3-AAAA titles but always finished a game or two short. After a players-only meeting last week, Parker said she and the other 10 seniors on the team want to finally bring that elusive goal home.

"We really decided to do whatever it took to win state," Parker said.

Morris said he believes his team could be heading in the right direction, saying he saw a change in his team during the tournament.

"They have come together as a team over the weekend," he said.

Fort Mill will open defense of its region title this week.

FORT MILL 3, HILTON HEAD 1 FM - Taylor Parker 12:37 FM - Becca Tooley 19:02 FM - Parker 69:43. HH - Jean Weisner 79:50. Shots on goal - Fort Mill 12, Hilton Head 10. Saves - Fort Mill 8 (Alexis McLaine), Hilton Head 7 (Emma Stanton 5, Maraia Tremarelli 2). Records - Fort Mill 6-1-1, Hilton Head 3-2-0.

Championship

Fort Mill 3, Hilton Head 1

Third place

Nation Ford 1, Northwestern 0

Fifth place

Kettle Run 4, Rock Hill 0

Seventh place

Clover 2, Lexington 0

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