Fort Mill junior Grace Sandler led her team with four goals, while senior Lydia Laney and junior Taylor Wilcox both earned hat-tricks to help Fort Mill earn a comprehensive 14-3 victory in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs at Bob Jones Stadium.
The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets (10-7) will now host Byrnes High School in the second round of the playoffs on Thursday, April 20. Byrnes beat Nation Ford 19-16 in the first round of their 5A playoff match.
“We’re taking it one step at a time,” said Fort Mill coach Kirsten Terry. “We’re going to focus on ourselves first.”
Down 3-2 after the first 11 minutes, Fort Mill finished the game with 12 unanswered goals, including a defensive shutout in the second half.
Laney moved one step closer to a personal record. Her hat-trick pushed her career goal tally to 196, just five goals away from tying the school record of 201 goals set by Charlotte Anderson in 2019.
“Our defense was locked on,” Terry said. “We did what we need to do. (Laney’s) a huge presence on and off the field for the team. There’s a lot of leadership and hustle in what she brings.”
Laney earned two of her three goals in a pivotal six-minute period midway through the first half to push Fort Mill into a 5-3 lead. Sandler and Taylor Wilcox then combined for the final three Fort Mill goals to push the home team into an 8-3 halftime lead.
Sandler scored her final two goals in the second half, while Erin Hennessey picked up her second goal of the night to push the Fort Mill lead to double-digits. Freshman Molly Bennett led the team with five assists.
Terry said she’s hoping her underclassmen gain more confidence when shooting at goal as Fort Mill progresses in the playoffs.
“I want the underclassmen and the junior class to keep bringing the heat,” she said. “The confidence to take it to the goal and take advantage when they have it.”
Last year, Fort Mill reached the semifinals in the Class 5A state playoffs, having earned a first-round bye, then defeating Byrnes before falling to Riverside 12-9.