Magnet Mens Soccer Regular Season Recap

Recapping the Academic Magnet Boys Soccer Regular season


As the Academic Magnet Men’s soccer regular season finally comes to a close it only feels right to recap the highs and lows. This year’s team was embodied by a group of seniors hungry to win a State Championship. The Magnet Men’s soccer program has experienced a bit of a state championship drought since the last one in 2018. For the successful program that Magnet is in, the last couple of seasons have been relatively disappointing with the boys even missing out on playoffs two years ago. For the current season, the men’s team is likely going into the playoffs as a three-seed. This article will include a recap of the more important games as well as the key movements during the season.


Preseason Tournament:

The boys started the season extremely strong during the Charleston Soccer Shootout. The first game of the tournament was Rock Hill on a Friday Night. Rock Hill, a rather large school from upstate South Carolina is always able to field a decent soccer team. Their players however were no match for the Magnet boys as they started the game a little slow however a late goal in the first half began the Magnet onslaught. By the end of the game, the Magnet boys had put 5 goals past the Rock Hill goalkeeper and conceded zero. The next game in the tournament was somewhat of a revenge game for the Magnet boys. In the same tournament the year before May River had knocked out Magnet with a late winner. The game this year started very similar to last year. Late in the game, the score was tied one to one. It took a late winner from Magnet instead to secure the victory this year. With a massive boost of confidence, the boys were ready for Waccamaw in the finals. The Waccamaw men’s soccer went on a deep run in the 3A playoffs last year. The final was played in the D4 stadium, one of the nicest turf fields in Charleston. The game included a dominant performance from Magnet in which they won 2-0 however the score line could have been much bigger. This win marked a massive beginning for the men’s soccer team.
















The next landmark game of the season was the Pink Strong game against Lexington. The Pink Strong game is organized by Hamil in an effort to fight cancer. This is a game the boys know they absolutely cannot lose. Lexington is a super strong team from the Columbia area of South Carolina. This year they had 2 division one soccer players on the team. The Academic Magnet men’s soccer team had no trouble, however. They got off to a quick start with an outside-the-box volley goal that boosted the team’s energy. Lexington’s division one winger had a couple of outstanding plays but the boy’s defense held strong. In the second half, setpieces made the difference and the team was able to take home a solid 4-1 victory.


River Bluff:

River Bluff high school is a large 5A school in Columbia, South Carolina with a historically high-quality program. Their coach, Phil Savitz, has over 800 wins in high school soccer, so we knew the competition was going to be tough. River Bluff started the game hot, and before long their game plan became apparent: boot the ball up the field to their forwards who would either hold the ball up or flick it onward. Despite this basic tactic, River Bluff proved to be very effective at what they did. However, for most of the first half, the Magnet defense was able to fend off the River Bluff attacks. Unfortunately though, River Bluff was able to break the deadlock after a corner kick slipped between our goalie and defense leaving a lucky River Bluff player with an easy goal. The entire environment seemed to be against us at this game because as the goal went in, rain started to pour from the sky. On top of this, River Bluff has very obnoxious dance music that plays after every goal, and watching the opposing players dance down the field as rain began to soak through our jerseys definitely shook some of our players. For the rest of the game, we only created a few decent chances to score because we were never able to get a hold of the ball due to the River Bluff playstyle. The entire second half we were hammered by River Bluff attacks and the game ended 3-0. Suffering the worst defeat of our season demoralized us slightly, but we learned some valuable lessons from the game, and helped us gain some experience against tough opponents. 

Oceanside Home: 

Heading into the first Oceanside game the boys were confident coming off of some good wins. We knew that Oceanside would likely be the most difficult team that we would face during our season, so we were prepared for a very tough game. The first half started out well for the Raptors, and we were able to create several high-quality chances that should have led to goals. But due to some poor finishing, we went into the half 0-0. In all honesty, we were all over Oceanside in the first half and we should have gone into halftime with one or two goals. This would have made the game completely different because after only a few minutes into the second half Oceanside scored from a missed clearance that bounced fortunately in front of an Oceanside player inside the box. After going 1-0 down, the game became much more difficult as Oceanside began to build in confidence. Oceanside also has a far larger talent pool than Magnet which meant that they had a larger number of quality substitute players than us. So as the game wore on our players began to tire and stopped running as much. This led to their second after their right back made a late run to the top of the box and was left wide open. To be fair the shot was placed perfectly in the top left corner so there was nothing that we could have done about it except track his run better. The final score ended 2-0. 








Bishop England Home:


Bishop England has always been a tough rival of Academic Magnet in soccer, and this game was our first real challenge in our region games. The start of the game was very back and forth, but BE took the lead in the first half after a quick counterattack caught the Magnet defense out. Going into halftime the boys were 1-0 down but were confident they could make the comeback. For most of the second half, there were not many chances to score, but towards the middle of the second half Magnet struck back against BE with a brilliant turn and finish from Kofi Ayiku. However, the Bishops retook the lead after a controversial referee call gave them a penalty. Down 2-1, it looked like Magnet was about to be handed their first defeat in region play. But the team pushed on and with 2 minutes remaining in the game Pope Kennedy scored a late equalizer from a set piece that forced overtime. No goals were scored in overtime which meant the game had to be decided on penalties. With all but one of the Magnet boys scoring their penalties and two fantastic saves from JB O’Neal, the Raptors triumphed dramatically over the Bishops. This was by far one of the best games of the season. 
















Oceanside Away:

This game did not go as well as the first one did. Oceanside had a pretty dominant performance on their home field, with a few small chances created by the Raptors. The first goal came when an Oceanside player was left unmarked on a throw-in. He was able to turn and play a one-two which got through our defense and then crossed the ball for a fairly simple finish. Magnet nearly scored from a corner kick and had a few shots on goal but no goals. The second half was pretty much the same. Oceanside scored after the Magnet defense gave up the ball in the back, and we were able to create a few shots on goal, but once again no goals. Final score: 2-0. 

Bishop England Away:

In the first half of the second BE game, the Magnet boys came out strong creating several chances to score. But once again after failing to finish their chances, the boys were punished late in the first half with a goal from outside the box by the Bishops. Once again we were 1-0 down at halftime against BE, so we knew that we could come back from this deficit. But the second half was not much better. The Bishops were able to increase their lead by 2 after another controversial penalty call. But despite being 2-0 down there was still some late drama. Cesa Ramirez, our SOA freshman, scored a fantastic strike from outside the box giving us some hope. Then during a corner kick in the final moments of the game, a Bishop England player received a red card for pushing over one of our players. However, Magnet lost 2-1. 

With a very challenging season full of tough losses and inspiring victories the boys are very prepared for playoffs. As a team, we are looking to make it to the state championship and give the Magnet Boys soccer program another state championship title.

P.S. Quick Thanks to Dakota Hasty as she did an amazing job taking care of the team photographer this year.