Any win in any sport in the Dutch Fork-Irmo rivalry is a good one for the victor, but Friday’s girls soccer triumph by the Siler Foxes was more of a big-picture deal than a mere outcome for neighborhood bragging rights.
The 2-0 Dutch Fork success, in fact, created a three-way tie atop the Region 4-4A standings. Dutch Fork, Irmo and Spring Valley all sport 5-1 region records heading into spring break.
“This way, it’s more fun,” said DF coach Jovan Brdarski, referring to the congested, up-for-grabs state of the region championship race.
After a scoreless first half, Dutch Fork broke the stalemate with a goal by Abby Demare in the 43rd minute. Demare stayed onside before splitting the Irmo defense to run down a long pass through the middle and cleanly beat Yellow Jackets keeper Amy Dherckers.
The Silver Foxes tallied again in the 59th minute when Ellen Gardiner chipped in a beautiful crossing pass from the far right side by Mollia Brown.
“We’ve been working on just that kind of play in practice and we finally scored on it,” said Brdarski, whose team now stands at 9-2-1 and figures to move up from its current No. 13 spot in the Class 4A rankings. “In the second half we created some chances and converted on two of them, and the defense made it stand up. It was a very good team performance. We can still be better and we will be better but we’re starting to move up to where we need to be.”
Irmo had a chance to make a late run when aggressive senior forward Gina Cox was fouled in the box, netting a penalty kick opportunity in the 64th minute. Jackets coach Josh Puryear elected to have senior captain Karli Farnham take the PK, but her bid to catch the lower left corner was denied DF keeper Hallie Campbell’s diving save.
Eighth-ranked Irmo fell to 10-4 overall.
“We came out flat after dominating in the first half and Dutch Fork took advantage of it,” said Puryear. “This was a wake up call, and everything from here will come down to how we respond, how we fight. The important thing is we play Spring Valley and Dutch Fork again so we control our own destiny.”
Spring Valley, which beat Dutch Fork and lost to Irmo in the first half of the region campaign, defeated Blythewood 1-0 on Friday.