Irmo won its first Class 4A soccer playoff game under coach Matt Brophy on Tuesday, defeating Easley 3-0 at W.C. Hawkins Stadium.
But the Yellow Jackets were far from at the top of their game, and Brophy said Irmo has a lot of changes to make as it continues its playoff run.
“We could play a lot better. We found a way to win, we just didn’t play well,” Brophy said.
“We just had a lack of intensity, we weren’t focused and we didn’t raise our level.”
The Yellow Jackets took the lead early when Tyler Johnson scored in the 16th minute. That put the Green Wave in a defensive posture for a while. But Irmo could not make much of three first-half corner kicks, and eventually Easley’s offense got in gear.
“They had some chances, and we did a good job of keeping them in by not giving our best. That wasn’t our best soccer at all, so we were very fortunate to be at the half 1-0 and win the game 3-0, because they had chances,” Brophy said.
With 15 minutes left in the first half, the Green Wave crowded the box, and appeared to get a crossing shot in past a leaping Hunter Wages. But a call of interfering with the keeper negated the goal.
Then, after six minutes of second-half play, Easley looked to score again. This time, the Green Wave was called offsides after another shot hit the back of the net.
Easley’s defense corralled the Yellow Jackets for much of the game. But in the final five minutes, the Yellow Jackets padded their score with goals from JT Tarakenge and Sam Padula.
Irmo advances to face Northwestern, which recovered from a two-goal deficit to beat Riverside 3-2.
“It’s tough and it doesn’t get any easier,” Brophy said. “We can play a lot better, and I hope we do down the road.”