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Disappointed Warriors vow to keep fighting

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By Robert Howey

IRMO – Long faces, some stained with post-game tears of disappointment, were not what the Indian Land Warriors wanted, but they say they will press on and play harder in their quest for coveted state gold.
Indian Land, now a six-time bridesmaid in the boys state soccer championship match – five in Class AA and one in Class AAA, felt a familiar agony of defeat after May River High School downed ILHS, 6-2, to win the Class AAA state soccer championship at Irmo High School on Saturday, May 11.
The Sharks led 1-0 at the half and then took control on the way to the convincing win.
“Our guys played hard and fought hard, but it wasn’t our day,” said ILHS veteran assistant coach Gary Smith, who has been part of the Warriors soccer program for all of the IL team’s 25 seasons. “We battled all the way, we’re not disappointed in the effort.
“Hopefully, we will come back next season and fight harder.”
Warriors athletics director Mike Edwards said he was proud of the effort.
“They did a great job getting here,” Edwards said. “You have to be proud of a good season.
“They worked hard and played hard,” he said. “The outcome is disappointing, but you have to keep coming back. We’re a good program that keeps playing for championships.”
Veteran assistant coach Greg Jacob said he had mixed emotions.
“I hate losing, but I love being here,” Jacob said. “A lot of teams in the Upper State would like to be in our place.”
“The score didn’t reflect the game as a whole,” ILHS head coach Adam Cole said. “We had several chances, some openings, but against a team like that, you have to take advantage. We knew they were a potent team.
“We knew it was going to be difficult,” Cole said. “They beat a high level of competition – Academic Magnet and Bishop England – to get here.”
ILHS Principal David Shamble said he remained proud.
“Congrats to our team and coaches,” he said. “It’s a winning program between our girls and boys teams.
“They don’t quit,” Shamble said. “They’re fighters and that’s what their coaches instill in them.”
ILHS seniors said they are confident the Warriors will break through in the future.
“We played our hardest,” ILHS senior defender Luke Lambert said. “For next year, our guys are going to have to push harder and take it home.”
Senior defender Luke Roberts said the Warriors’ season was an achievement.
“To get eliminated in the first round last season and then come back to play for the state championship says a lot about our team,” Roberts said.
Daniel Kilroy said the Warriors “gave their all.”
“I was proud of our guys,” he said. “We did the best we could. I believe they will make it back next year, but we’re just going to have to play harder.”

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“We were ranked ninth in AAA all year, so to make it to the finals says a lot about how hard our guys worked to get there," Cole said. "We hung with a nationally ranked team for most of the game.”
“I wanted to thank the fans and students who came out to support us,” he said. “We didn’t win the game, but our fans sure did make themselves known and cheer us on ’til the end.”