Chiefs upset top-seeded B-C for trip to Lower State finals

The North Myrtle Beach boys soccer team’s surprising run through the Class AAA Lower State tournament continued Saturday night with a 3-2 upset victory over host Brookland-Cayce.

The Chiefs (14-8), the No. 3 seed out of Region VIII-AAA, knocked off the top-seeded and fourth-ranked Bearcats (20-5-2) in their own backyard to advance to the Lower State championship game.

North Myrtle Beach’s Ian Fellenz scored a pair of goals, both on headers off corner-kick assists by Christian Buis. The second one came with about 15 minutes remaining and proved to be the game-winner.

The Chiefs defense, led by freshman goalkeeper Dallas Fields, held off the Bearcats’ last-ditch efforts to tie it up. He had 12 saves and made several impressive stops in the final stages of the match.

“Dallas played an unbelievable game,” said North Myrtle Beach coach Jason Mueller. “All our guys played hard and battled, but Dallas is the one that kept us in it.”

The Chiefs almost found themselves in a difficult hole to dig out of when the Bearcats scored in the opening 4 minutes and then were awarded a penalty kick. But Hill made the stop and allowed the Chiefs to gain confidence.

North Myrtle Beach’s Jeremy Sopa booted in a ball from about 25 yards out shortly before halftime to tie it up at 1-all at intermission. The first Buis-to-Fellenz combo gave the Chiefs their first lead but B-C quickly responded to level it.

That’s when Fellenz and Buis duplicated their picture perfect corner connection to silence the large crowd at B-C. North Myrtle Beach withstood the final assault by the Bearcats for their seventh win in their last eight games.

“We knew we had some new guys and it was going to take some time to gel, but we seem to be peaking at the right time,” Mueller said. “That’s what we’ve preached all year and the guys have worked hard to come together.”

North Myrtle Beach will travel to top-seeded Hilton Head on Tuesday for the right to play in the Class AAA state championship game next Saturday at Columbia’s Memorial Stadium.

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