Myrtle Beach’s season came down to about three minutes.
In that brief span midway through the first half, the Seahawks gave up a pair of goals to Dreher. And despite having better looks throughout the game, the Seahawks couldn’t overcome the deficit and fell 2-1, sending the Blue Devils to the lower state title game.
“We had a lot of chances but just couldn’t get that second one,” said Myrtle Beach coach Jason Himmelsbach. “You’ve got to be able to score.”
Myrtle Beach began the game creating scoring opportunities, but shots sailed wide or over the net.
Dreher got on the board 15 minutes into the game when Myrtle Beach failed to clear the ball and a Dreher shot hit the crossbar and bounced down, crossing the goal line.
After giving up the second goal minutes later, the Seahawks looked like they would respond when striker Sam Coughlin flipped the ball over the Dreher keeper’s head, only to watch it hit the crossbar.
Down 2-0 at halftime, Myrtle Beach came out aggressive after the break.
Five minutes after the whistle, they cut the lead in half when defender Frantz Nati sent a free kick into the box and striker Shavon Brown headed it home.
But the Blue Devils played conservatively throughout the second half, crowding their side of the field and stifling the Seahawk offense. Myrtle Beach still had some opportunities, including a late header that the Dreher keeper caught, but the Blue Devils’ strategy proved successful.
“I felt good after we got one so quick to start the second half, but they put a lot of players behind the ball,” Himmelsbach said. “My hat’s off to them. They defended well and they’re a good team.”
Myrtle Beach will lose six senior starters, including captains Nati, Coughlin and Coby Arambula. For them, coming up short of a state title was painful.
“If there ever was a group that deserved it, it was these guys,” Himmelsbach said.
Despite losing key contributors, the Seahawks have some young talent who will provide a solid foundation for next year’s squad.
“We’ll be back,” Himmelsbach said. “I can tell you that.”