Unfortunately the line has expired.
For the first time since 2013, a team other than JL Mann will represent the Upper State’s top ranking in the girls’ soccer tournament.
Mann has played in eight consecutive state championships (in Class AAAA and then Class AAAAA); However, that streak ended Tuesday night as the Patriots fell to 1-AAAAA contender TL Hanna, 1-0, in the senior state championship.
“You know, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said Mann coach Steve Gorgopoulos. “What we’ve been lacking this year is a little bit of maturity as we’ve had a lot of young players in the squad; however, the lines are supposed to be broken, and unfortunately, it’s our turn tonight.”
Ironically, Hanna was the last to advance as a state senior champion when the Yellow Vests won the state championship over Wandu in 2012.
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Hana (15-7-1) will face Wando again as the Yellow Vests play the Warriors in the state championship on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Irmo High School. Wando defeated two youngsters, 4-2, on Tuesday night to win the Lower State Championship.
The Patriots (12-5-1) have relied heavily on their defense throughout the season with Mane only conceding a total of 12 goals. However, scoring goals came somewhat of a bonus.
“Yes, we couldn’t move the ball,” Georgopoulos said. “We didn’t have the harmony to achieve that ‘golden goal.’ Our girls played their hearts out, but I think the match against Wade Hampton really took everything from them. They did their best. We weren’t as fresh as we should have been.”
Mann defeated 2-AAAAAA District Champion Wade Hampton in a penalty shootout on Saturday.
The Patriots split from the Yellow Vests during their previous meeting this year, but Hanna was able to take advantage of his chances.
“We didn’t play well,” said Georgopoulos. We didn’t communicate. We didn’t have the chemistry to connect with each other. We were a little unorthodox in our way of playing. We just didn’t play a good game today. The most dangerous player made us push. That’s football. It takes one great moment. If this player manages From the registry; that’s all it takes.”
Hannah Junior Autumn Kylie, who has committed to playing for the University of South Carolina, scored midway through the second half.
Advancement to the eight-country finals in nine years (not final in 2020 due to Covid-19) speaks volumes for the Patriots programme.
“JL Mann soccer has a tradition of being there,” Georgopoulos said. “We kind of owned it. We have a legacy we built. I’m proud of the girls for what they were able to do. We just came short tonight.”
Georgopoulos said the Patriots just need to put things together to successfully return to the state’s elite show.
“We have to play football better when it really matters,” said Georgopoulos. “We were very close tonight. We just need to meet when we need to. The coaches have to prepare the team to be better and get ready to play and the players have to do their job, trust the coaches and implement the game plan.”