Sophomores Braden Gritz and Ryan Seitz both scored a goal to help the Fort Mill boys soccer team defeat Boiling Springs 2-1 Friday night at Bob Jones Stadium and help the Jackets earn an important second Region 3-5A victory.
Gritz struck in the 11th minute, while Seitz’s long-range shot came just two minutes later. The Jackets seemed to be rolling, but the visiting Bulldogs never gave up.
Eventually, Boiling Springs pulled a goal back in the 55th minute through Christian Gonzalez’s quick shot, but the Jackets held on through a tense second half to pull out the win.
“The second half was about managing the ball,” said Fort Mill head coach Mark Serene. “Once we were able to be calm with the ball, pass and connect, the game was done.”
With the win, Fort Mill improves to 5-7-1 overall and 2-2 in the region. The Jackets remain in contention for a Region 3-5A crown.
Crosstown rival Nation Ford is 11-5-1 and currently leads the region standings with a 5-0 record. Meanwhile, Clover is right behind the Falcons with a 3-1 region record after topping Gaffney 8-1 on Friday night.
Fort Mill next plays Clover at home Friday, April 8 before heading back on the road to take on Boiling Springs in Spartanburg on Tuesday, April 19.
“They’re really good competition,” Seitz said of Clover. “Hopefully we’ll keep this momentum going.”
Every team is jockeying for the best possible region finish, which will help determine their seed in the state playoffs.
Fort Mill took the lead early during Friday’s home contest and never looked in danger of giving it up in the first half.
Gritz drew first blood with a strike in the 11th minute. Boiling Springs goalkeeper Jayce Lamb came off his line to deal with one Fort Mill attacker before the ball opened up for Gritz on the other end of the penalty box, who finished coolly under pressure from 10-yards.
Two minutes later, Fort Mill doubled its lead through Seitz, who pummeled a booming 30-yard shot up and past Lamb.
“I thought we were for sure going to end up scoring a couple more, but it didn’t end up happening like that,” Seitz said.
The Bulldogs had a couple chances in the opening half, but none were able to bother junior goalkeeper Bradley Mitchell in the Jackets’ net.
Still, Boiling Springs pulled a goal back in the 55th minute when Gonzalez beat Mitchell at the far post with a long-range effort.
Gritz was unlucky not to extend Fort Mill’s lead just five minutes later, but his header from a cross on the right wing couldn’t beat Lamb.
The visitors grew into the match and slowly pressed Fort Mill throughout the final 15 minutes, but the Jackets stood strong to earn the win.
Serene said the win gives his team a “taste of success” ahead of some important region games.
“This is a young team,” he said. “We need to keep on building on each victory.”