Throughout the weekend, many of the top girls soccer teams in the state rotated onto the fields at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill as part of the Fort Mill High School Invitational Tournament.
For about two hours, though, two of the top middle school programs in the region stole the spotlight.
Gold Hill Middle School improved its overall record to 5-0 after defeating Springfield Middle 5-1 Saturday afternoon. The win didn't come as easily as the score may indicate, Gold Hill Head Coach Bill Johnson said.
"That Springfield team was very strong. They gave us a lot more pressure than we've seen all year," Johnson said.
Gold Hill jumped out to a quick lead as Bailey Rich broke away and scored the opening goal less than two minutes into the match. Springfield bounced back and tied the game with a goal by Alexis Pattinson, but Gold Hill pulled away late in the first half with three more goals, one by Taylor Chambers and two by Megan Polito, who was constantly getting behind the Springfield defense.
"We really practice playing the ball and being patient, that's what we did today," Polito said.
The second half of the game was more evenly played, the only goal coming on a well-executed shot by Gold Hill's Katie Gano from almost outside the box.
Playing at the high school tournament on the Manchester Meadows fields and in front of the large crowd was an extra incentive for the team to play well, Polito said.
"It was really exciting having a lot more people here from different teams," she said. "It was a lot of fun."
While the Gold Hill players were pleased with their performance, many said that it was just a continuation of the success they've seen so far this year and have come to expect from each other.
"I think we're playing great this year," Rich said.
The match was a positive experience for the Springfield group as well, despite the loss, Assistant Coach Lewis Berry said.
"They have an overpowering offense, but we got the ball behind their defense, which was good," Berry said.
"Without question, the game we played today was our best game. The girls played better than they've played all year. That's what the game of soccer is all about- every game, going to a different level."
Head Coach Chris Pattinson said he thought the team would benefit from the experience, especially since they have two more meetings with Gold Hill this season.
"It was fun for the girls to have the opportunity to be out here. They improved in every aspect of the game. They're a smart team," he said.
For Gold Hill, they have outscored their opponents 21-2 this season and are aiming to finish the year with a perfect record.
They controlled the field position and pace of the match for most of the afternoon.
"That's our whole thing- we like to move the ball around. We play a patient game," Johnson said. "The girls are learning how to play against a lot of different styles."
While this loss may sting a little for Springfield, they don't have long to think about it. The two teams have a rematch 5 p.m. Thursday at Gold Hill.