Clover girls' soccer was supposed to be good this spring. The Blue Eagles' success -- a No. 1 national ranking, a deep playoff run and only two losses -- was no surprise.
Nation Ford boys' soccer was supposed to rebuild after graduation cleaned out the Falcons' roster. The Falcons' run to the 5A state final was a huge surprise.
A talented junior was the driving force behind both teams. Selah Gaylor scored 15 goals and set up 15 more, pulling the strings for Clover's offensive attack from the middle of the park. Curtis Johnson pulled defensive strings for Nation Ford, anchoring a defense that kept nine clean sheets and allowed less than a goal per game, en route to a state championship appearance few saw coming.
Both players made 5A All-State and were selected All-Area players of the year by a coaches' vote. Clover's Kelsey Geary and Nation Ford's Jon Jarrett were also picked by their peers, as All-Area coaches of the year.
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Geary had the best girls' soccer team in the area and they were a game away from playing for the 5A state title. Geary's team allowed just 14 goals in 24 games and reached a No. 1 national ranking early in the season, while maintaining a No. 1 ranking in South Carolina for most of the campaign. Many key players, including Gaylor, return next spring and the hope is that the Blue Eagles' can take another big step in 2019.
Jarrett produced one of the best coaching jobs in the state, taking a team that lost a handful of college soccer players to graduation and helping shape it into a physical force with some of the best chemistry of any team he's had at the school. The Falcons' run to the state finals was surprising, but so was their performance in the championship against nationally-ranked Wando. Many predicted a blowout, but the Falcons only fell 2-1 and were in the contest the whole way.
Girls' player of the year: Selah Gaylor, Clover
Girls' coach of the year: Kelsey Geary, Clover
Boys' player of the year: Curtis Johnson, Nation Ford
Boys' coach of the year: Jon Jarrett, Nation Ford
Girls' first team
Lexi Barrowclough, Fort Mill - All-Region 4-5A sophomore scored 13 goals and assisted five.
Dahlia Bell, Rock Hill - All-Region 4-5A freshman midfielder started every game for the Bearcats, scoring 10 goals and dishing out 15 assists.
Summer Bishop, Indian Land - 3A All-State selection played in the Clash of the Carolinas all-star game. Bishop, a senior striker/midfielder signed to play at Queens University, scored 33 goals and had 10 assists.
Issy Dyckes, Nation Ford - senior keeper kept seven shutouts this season. Dyckes made All-Region 4-5A and will play college soccer this fall at Spartanburg Methodist.
Kailee Erwin, Indian Land - North-South all-star and 3A All-State selection scored 14 goals and assisted on eight. The senior midfielder will play at Newberry College next year.
Selah Gaylor, Clover - The Region 4-5A player of the year and a 5A All-State selection, Gaylor, committed to play college soccer at Charlotte, scored 15 goals and 15 assists.
Emily Gerdes, Indian Land - North-South all-star selection scored 14 goals and had 12 assists. Gerdes was named 3A All-State and All-Region 4-3A.
Lauren Glowacki, Fort Mill - All-Region 4-5A senior defender led the Yellow Jackets' backline.
Haley Hocking, Clover - hard-tackling senior midfielder/defender scored eight goals and had five assists. Hocking, who signed to play college soccer at Presbyterian, made All-Region 4-5A, 5A All-State and represented South Carolina in the Clash of the Carolinas.
J'menii Isaac, Clover - senior forward was named 5A All-State, All-Region 4-5A and played in the North-South all-star game after scoring 15 goals and assisting seven.
Aubrey Mowrey, York - junior forward smashed in 43 goals and had nine assists. Mowrey was named Region 3-4A player of the year.
Jade Consalvi, York - senior defender helped the Cougars keep 13 shutouts. Consalvi scored five goals.
Abby Curry, Indian Land - senior signed to play at Erskine was a 3A All-State and All-Region 4-3A defender. Curry scored three goals.
Megan Eastep, Nation Ford - senior midfielder playing college soccer at Queens scored six goals and had seven assists. Eastep was named All-Region 4-5A.
Cierra Feaster, Nation Ford - sophomore midfielder scored a team-high 13 goals, with five assists, to make All-Region 4-5A.
Annika Ford, Fort Mill - All-Region 4-5A junior midfielder scored nine goals and assisted seven
Danielle Gregory, Northwestern - junior keeper made All-Region 4-5A after posting 137 saves in 20 games.
Aminah Johnson, Northwestern - junior midfielder scored 10 goals, had five assists.
Zoe Kennedy, South Pointe - sophomore striker scored 36 goals and had 11 assists.
Kelsey Long, Indian Land - senior striker/midfielder bagged 29 goals and added three assists.
Krystal Nielsen, Clover - All-Region 4-5A senior defender was a lynchpin in the Blue Eagles' stingy defense that allowed just 0.58 goals per game.
Grace Sain, Clover - junior defender led Clover's backline and made All-Region 4-5A.
Morgan Farrar, Clover; Baylie White, Emily Ambrose and Emily Richard, Fort Mill; Ellie Wolfram, Nation Ford; Victoria Lollis and Ansley Rentz, Northwestern; Jennings Modla, Rock Hill; Adisan Funke, Teagan Boucher and Ana Carolina Carter, South Pointe; Haylee Myrup, York.
Boys' first team
Martin Cruz, Nation Ford - tenacious senior forward scored 13 goals and had eight assists. Cruz made All-Region 4-5A, 5A All-State and played in the Clash of the Carolinas.
Jake Cubine, Nation Ford - 5A All-State holding midfielder scored 13 goals and had six assists. Ten of Cubine's goals were from free kicks, including a world class hit in the state final against Wando. He also made All-Region 4-5A and played in the Clash of the Carolinas.
Gavin Dunlop, Indian Land - sophomore 3A All-State pick scored 25 goals and assisted 13. Dunlop was named Region 4-3A player of the year.
Buddy Flow, Indian Land - junior keeper posted 10 shutouts and was named All-Region 4-3A and 3A All-State.
Carson Guest, Northwestern - senior All-State and All-Region 4-5A pick scored seven goals in eight region games for the Trojans.
Connor Hall, Northwestern - slick All-Region 4-5A senior midfielder was selected for the Clash of the Carolinas and will play college soccer at Spartanburg Methodist.
Davis Hooten, Northwestern - senior keeper signed to play at Michigan State allowed 12 goals in 18 games and made All-Region 4-5A, 5A All-State and played in the North-South all-star game.
Curtis Johnson, Nation Ford - 5A All-State junior centerback was the strong spine of the Falcons' run to the state title match. Johnson scored seven goals, all from set pieces, and helped the Falcons keep eight clean sheets in games played against playoff teams. Johnson was Co-Region 4-5A player of the year.
Dawson Malcolm, Clover - freshman defender was named Co-Region 4-5A player of the year and 5A All-State after scoring five goals and leading the Blue Eagles from the back.
Ethan Stevenson, Clover - sophomore wide midfielder scored 24 goals and had eight assists. Stevenson was named 5A All-State and made All-Region 4-5A.
Sean Walsh, York - senior forward scored 34 goals and assisted nine. Walsh made the North-South all-star game and was also Region 3-4A player of the year for the second season in a row.
Joseph Banny, Fort Mill - junior centerback made All-Region 4-5A.
Garrett Beard, Northwestern - senior switched from midfield to centerback after Northwestern's starting central defenders both suffered season-ending injuries. Beard played in the North-South all-star game.
Sam Cable, Rock Hill - senior striker headed to Erskine to play college soccer scored 17 goals and assisted 10.
Steven Halas, Nation Ford - All-Region 4-5A senior midfielder scored four goals and assisted six. Halas pulled the strings for Nation Ford and was selected to the North-South all-star game.
Gavin McCraw, Fort Mill - senior keeper allowed 1.25 goals per match and was an All-Region 4-5A pick.
Zach Pierce, Clover - senior midfielder signed to play in college at Gardner-Webb scored 10 goals. Pierce played in the North-South all-star game and was an All-Region 4-5A pick.
B.T. Potter, South Pointe - senior scored 28 goals and had nine assists.
Alexis Salazar, Northwestern - All-Region pick switched from midfield to defense because of injuries to teammates, but played well.
Grant Stevens, Fort Mill - All-Region 4-5A senior forward led the Yellow Jackets with seven goals.
Ben Tuipulotu, Nation Ford - All-Region 4-5A senior forward's playing style was anything but subtle, but it summed up Nation Ford's physicality and toughness. Tuipulotu scored three goals, assisted eight and even stepped into the net to keep out three penalty kicks during a region win over Northwestern.
Carson Wynn, York - senior midfielder/defender signed to play in college at North Greenville scored three goals and set up 15, second most in the state in 4A boys' soccer. Wynn made All-Region 3-4A.
Jose Ariza and Brandon Malcolm, Clover; Grayson Woodard, Fort Mill and Brayden Held, Fort Mill; Addison Guild, Indian Land; Carter Richardson and Sam Yarnes, Nation Ford; Carlos Gomez, Northwestern; Skyler Fields, Rock Hill; Alex Barnes and Ryan Lowery, South Pointe; Max Haynes, York.