Soccer Playoffs: Panthers, Braves, Chiefs win openers

The Carolina Forest boys soccer team responded at the last possible moment to score a 2-0 victory over visiting West Ashley in Tuesday’s first round of the Class AAA Lower State tournament.

A heated scoreless draw turned testy in the latter stages, with three Panthers and a pair of Wildcats earning yellow cards for rough play. But the Panthers saved the best action for last.

With both teams bailing out in a last-ditch effort to win it in regulation, Carolina Forest’s JT Cuomo made a picture-perfect cross to Michael Brooks, who headed it into the back of the net at the 78-minute mark.

The Panthers managed to score an insurance goal in extra time when Peter Gennaro made an assist to Kyle Adcock into an empty net. Carolina Forest goalkeeper Paul Blayton made three saves in the shutout victory.

The Panthers advance to face Fort Dorchester on the road in the second round at 6 p.m. Thursday.

* Socastee 3, Bluffton 0: The second-seeded Braves made easy work of visiting Bluffton in the first round of the Class AAA Lower State tournament on Tuesday.

Socastee’s Connor Norton-Baker scored a pair of goals and Matt Trimby netted the other as the No. 7-ranked Braves improved to 18-5 on the season.

Socastee’s Dimitri Leftis added a pair of assists and Will Caswell made another for the Braves. Goalkeeper Zach Shamah made two saves in posting the shutout.

Socastee travels to Brookland-Cayce for Thursday’s second-round match.

* North Myrtle Beach 4, Battery Creek 0: The No. 3-seeded Chiefs proved just how tough Region VIII-AAA is by shutting out the second-seeded Dolphins on the road.

Senior Ian Fellenz scored two goals for the 12th-ranked Chiefs, who will travel to No. 1-seeded Camden on Thursday night.

* Hilton Head Island 2, St. James 1: The Sharks’ season came to an end in overtime with a 2-1 loss to the top-seeded Seahawks.

The No. 4-seeded Sharks played perhaps their best game of the season against  No. 5-ranked Hilton Head. St. James’ Quadarius Grate score the lone goal for the young Sharks, who finish the season at 7-11.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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