Junior duo Ryan Seitz and Braden Gritz scored a goal each to lead the Fort Mill boys’ soccer team to a comprehensive 2-0 home shutout win over Region 3-5A opponent Spring Valley Tuesday night at Bob Jones Stadium.
Seitz took advantage of lax Vikings’ possession to help the Yellow Jackets take a lead in the 12th minute, while Gritz converted a penalty kick after junior Brayden Hunsucker was fouled in the 18-yard box just two minutes into the second half.
Fort Mill head coach Mark Seren praised the duo for their awareness and inter-play, which led to several chances throughout the game.
“I’m so fortunate to have those two boys,” he said. “They have an innate understanding of where they need to be, what type of ball to play.”
Fort Mill, now 5-6-1 and 2-1 in Region 3-5A, peppered the Spring Valley goalmouth with opportunities in the first half.
Junior Austin Lux narrowly cleared the crossbar with his reaction deflection off a corner kick in the seventh minute, just a couple minutes after Gritz nearly chipped the onrushing Spring Valley on a counterattack.
Seitz opened the scoring when he picked up possession from an errant Spring Valley pass, took a touch to put the ball on his right foot, and curled a beautiful shot into the top-right corner of the Vikings’ goal.
Gritz was involved in multiple consecutive chances in the final eight minutes of the half.
He was unlucky not to redirect junior Preston Shivel’s probing free kick from the near side in the 33rd minute. The junior then found himself in a 1-on-1 with Spring Valley goalkeeper Cris Angeles three minutes later, but the junior keeper did well to snuff out the effort from close range.
Gritz finally got on the scoresheet just two minutes into the second half when a Spring Valley defender bundled over Hunsucker, leaving the referee with an easy decision to point to the spot.
The junior stepped up and rolled a low shot past Angeles to double Fort Mill’s advantage.
“It was relieving,” Gritz said, of his goal after working so hard in the first half. “It allowed me to play more free and gave me more confidence.”
With the loss, Spring Valley falls to 3-5, 1-2 in region play. Both teams fell in the first round of last year’s Class 5A playoffs.
Gritz said he and Seitz have played together for about six years altogether, and have built a strong bond on the field.
“We always know what we’re doing,” he said. “I make a run, and he knows I’m making it.”
Seren knows every region game on the schedule is a tough affair. The Yellow Jackets will next play at region foe Clover on Friday, March 24.
“They’ve had our number,” he said. “We know (coach) Graham (Stafford’s) system and we know our strengths, so we’ll build a game plan to take it to them. It’s win big or go home. Region play is tough.”