Vikings topple Bengals

COLUMBIA – Blythewood girls soccer had a shot at closing out a Region 4-5A championship at Spring Valley Thursday night.

The Vikings had other intentions.

Maya Hamzy had two goals and Karah Barry had a goal and an assist as Spring Valley shut out the Bengals 3-0 to capture the region crown in a tiebreak.

“It’s been going our way for a while, but hands down, they wanted it more than we did,” Bengals head coach Kathy Knight said. “They outworked us 100 percent, so I give that to them.”

Blythewood (12-4, 6-1) had beaten the Vikings in PKs earlier in the season, but Hamzy’s and Barry’s goals pushed Spring Valley (14-2, 7-1) to the region title.

“It’s always going to be a tough game when you’re playing somebody who is just so competitive and you’re playing head-to-head every year,” Knight said.

Spring Valley kept pressure on the Blythewood goal throughout the game. Hamzy, who had six shots on goal, punched in her first goal 12 minutes into the game. Barry made a shot on goal that rolled toward the right goal post, but before Bengal keeper Claire Ellis could get a save, Hamzy raced in and put the ball into the net.

Thirteen minutes into the second half, Hamzy made it 2-0 Spring Valley when her kick from the left side of midfield sailed over Ellis’s head.

The Vikings got their third goal of the game with 5:58 to go when Barry broke free and charged the left side of the goal. Barry took a shot that Ellis initially stopped by batting it away, but Barry followed up with another kick. This time, the ball rolled in to seal the win for the Vikings.

Blythewood managed little more than a few breakaways toward the Spring Valley goal. Most of the Bengals efforts could not be delivered toward potential scoring drives from midfield.

“We weren’t making the connections in the midfield and that really hurt us,” said Knight, noting that Blythewood is very much alive in the playoff picture even without a region title. “Every time we’re on the pitch it’s a learning experience. We’re either going to grow together, or we’re going to have to make decisions in the future about which ones (players) work together best.”

Blythewood closes out region play with a home game against Lugoff-Elgin Monday night.