Green Wave shutout Pickens for fourth straight region win

By Bru Nimmons
Sports Editor

EASLEY — After some early season struggles to put goals on the board, the Easley High School girls’ soccer team had seemingly found some momentum heading into their rivalry region matchup with Pickens on Friday night.

The Green Wave continued to roll against their rivals getting payback for their region opening loss to the Flame with a 4-0 win for their fourth consecutive region victory.

“Today’s performance was spectacular,” Easley head coach Paul Horn said. “Our passing from our first matchup to now has improved 100 percent. One of our struggles from the beginning of the year was finding the back of the net, but we’re finding it a lot easier now.”

The Green Wave, who scored just one goal in their first five games of the season, have been on a tear since their March 18 battle with Westside, outscoring opponents 19-6 and battling their way back into the thick of the Region 1-4A race.

Easley looked like a team on a mission from the start of the action as they controlled possession for much of the first 15 minutes including close calls on shots by Macie Elrod and Olivia Hazel before Maddy Caples finally snuck a shot by Pickens goalkeeper Kyleigh Sarayusa in the 17th minute to give the Wave 1-0 lead.

Pickens put together its best play down the stretch in the first half with Sarayusa doing all she could to keep the Wave from adding another goal, while Lilly Kutilek and Emerson McCall gave them their best shots to tie the game before halftime.

In the second half it was all Easley, as the Wave continued to maintain possession and get chances on the net before Anna Huntyr Hemphill finally broke through on a goal in the 55th minute to boost the lead to 2-0.

Caples and Elrod kept giving the Green Wave chances in the following minutes before Caples picked up her brace with a rocket of a shot near the edge of the box that went screaming into the upper right corner of the net to put Easley ahead 3-0 with 13 minutes left in the game.

The bleeding continued for Pickens as Hazel took a pass from Kinsley Altop and scored once again just two minutes later to put the Wave ahead 4-0 and Easley rode the win out from there leaving Pickens head coach Kimberly Bright disappointed in the Flame’s effort.

“We didn’t step onto the field with our best effort,” Pickens head coach Kimberly Bright said. “We’re definitely a much better team than we showed out there. A lot of it was we weren’t connecting very well to feet.”

While the Green Wave have started to peak over the past few weeks, Pickens has struggled to maintain its early season form. The Blue Flame have dropped three of four in region and been outscored 19-2 in that stretch, but Bright is still hopeful that the team can bounce back with two weeks left in the regular season.

“It’s tough when you have a team with such high potential and they don’t always see the potential in themselves,” Bright said. “They can start to tear each other down, so we’ve been focusing on the family atmosphere within our team and building an uplifting environment for each other.”

Meanwhile, the Wave are looking to continue their strong play in the final weeks and secure a top two seed in their region.

“I just have to motivate the girls to keep doing what they’re doing,” Horn said.


Easley 4, Pickens 0


PHS 0 0 — 0

EHS 1 3 — 4




First Half

EHS — Caples, 17’


Second Half

EHS — Hemphill, 55’

EHS — Caples, 67’

EHS — Hazel (Altop), 69’