From day one of practice, Laurie White knew her Hilton Head Christian Academy Eagles had the drive to run it back. On Saturday morning in Columbia, her team displayed the heart and hustle to finish the job.
Abby Peduzzi capped off a spectacular 40-goal junior season with a brace in the finale, and Bless Hurtado added a goal and two assists as the Eagles downed Myrtle Beach Christian Academy 3-1 at Cardinal Newman School to secure their second consecutive SCISA 2A state title.
The start couldn’t have been drawn up any better for the Eagles — and especially the Hurtado sisters. In their final game playing side by side, the siblings didn’t waste any time making it magical. Senior Isi Hurtado spotted her sister down the field, and Bless delivered a beautiful finish into the back of the net for a 1-0 Eagle lead.
Then, it was time for the Peduzzi show. The HHCA superstar doubled the lead with a dazzling strike, launching a high-arcing shot outside the 18-yard box that sailed over the goalkeeper’s head and inside the far post. The tally gave Bless Hurtado her 26th assist of the season, and propelled HHCA to a commanding 2-0 halftime advantage.
The Eagles knew they were on the verge coming into the final 40 minutes, and they turned to their go-to scorer again to put the title away. Freshman Macy Langhals made a terrific run from the back and slotted a ball to Bless Hurtado, who quickly played it into the box for Peduzzi, who was able to sneak a shot past the diving keeper for her 40th goal of the season.
The Saints broke through to cut the deficit to 3-1, but a strong Eagle back line led by Langhals, Jackie Lowry, Kenzie Bryant, and Caroline Yanker stayed strong the rest of the way to shut down the desperate comeback attempt and secure a second consecutive state title.
Isabel Cunningham was sensational in net, making six key saves throughout the match en route to the victory.
“I knew these girls had the heart and certainly had the team chemistry to run it back this year,” White said. “Watching them battle all season and beat good teams like Calvary, Westminster, First Baptist really prepared them for the postseason. Watching them grow together and build up the confidence in their underclassmen was a big strength for our team.”
Hilton Head Christian Academy completes its championship season with a record of 17-3.
By Wes Kerr
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