Blythewood began what it hopes will be another long run in the Class 4A girls soccer state playoffs with a 5-0 win over visiting Hillcrest.
The ninth-ranked Bengals (15-3) have won four in a row and 10 of their past 11 matches.
“We had a rough start after losing 10 seniors off last year’s team,” said Blythewood coach Kathy Knight, whose team made it to the final four last season before losing to J.L. Mann in the Upper State championship match.
“We still had a strong foundation, but we had to make a number of adjustments until we found the right combination of players that worked well together. We also changed our formation to suit the personnel. I feel we’re playing our best soccer of the season.”
The Rams from Simpsonville (15-6-2) had no answer for Blythewood’s crisp attack. The Bengals finished with a 20-3 edge in shots. Hillcrest had no dangerous scoring chances and did not earn a corner kick opportunity.
“We’ve always been strong on defense, but the big change since the start of the season has been the attack,” Knight said.
Senior midfielder Savannah Purvis and freshman forward Hope Alexander were the headliners on offense.
Purvis got the Bengals on the board in the 10th minute and opened the second half with another goal in the 50th minute off an assist by Alexander.
Alexander came off the bench to post two goals and one assist. It began with an angle shot from the far right side that deflected in off the far left post in the 30th minute that made it 2-0.
Taylor Harrison, another freshman forward, accounted for the other goal.
“Tonight, we really put the combinations together in the offensive zone, and Hope and Taylor had a lot to do with that,” Knight said. “We kept it simple and let the ball do the work.”
Blythewood travels to Fort Mill on Wednesday for a clash against a Yellow Jackets side that scored a 1-0 win in the Viking Cup in early March. Fort Mill was a 3-1 winner in the first round against Mauldin.
“We are looking forward to the rematch,” Knight said.