Fort Mill bests Bengals in round 1

BLYTHEWOOD – Two Fort Mill goals that resulted from some defensive confusion spelled the end of the season for No.1 seed Blythewood boys soccer team Tuesday night.

Those scores were all the fourth-seeded but fleet-footed Yellow Jackets needed to upset the Bengals 2-1 in the opening round of the Class 5A upper state playoffs.

“It’s hard,” Blythewood head coach Peter Wittig said about the loss. “We’ve lost a couple of times (before) in the first round. It’s so hard because suddenly your season is over, and we really had the potential to go several rounds.”

Blythewood (13-8) made the initial score 16 minutes into the game. Vance Strobel drew Fort Mill goalkeeper Grayson Ainsley away from the net just enough to boot in a short-range shot. That shot got an inadvertent assist when Yellow Jackets defender Kevin Wright moved in to help Ainsley and ended up deflecting the ball into the net.

The home crowd shouted to the blares of vuvuzelas as the then-fierce Bengals assault fed the promise of more goals to come.

But they didn’t come.

Less than a minute after that goal, with fans still up and cheering the Bengals, Fort Mill took the ball at midfield and rifled the ball long range. The speedy Braden Held took advantage of a defensive mismatch and kicked a shot just past Blythewood goalkeeper Gouvin Jackson.

Five minutes later, the Yellow Jackets set up for a corner kick. When the ball was put in play, Reece Harnett knocked a cross shot in for the second goal.

“They kicked off fast and two of our defenders miscommunicated with each other,” Wittig said of the first score. “It was just ridiculous. And on the corner kick, it was just us not marking up like we should’ve.”

The closest Blythewood came to evening the score came in the second half, when Ethan Poungthana passed to Paddy Orr, and Orr put a shot into the net at the 30:14 mark.

That shot however, was negated by an offsides call.

Over the next eight minutes, Blythewood kept in position long enough to take six shots on goal, but no ball crossed into the goal.

“While it was tough, there’s no shame in losing that game,” Blythewood head coach Peter Wittig said. “They should have pride in what they accomplished this year and what they did out there today. We had multiple chances, we just had people in the way.”

Fort Mill (10-8) goes on the road again to play at Mauldin Thursday. The Mavericks knocked off T.L. Hanna 2-1 Tuesday night.