Chapin girls fall short of 5A championship dreams

Posted 5/16/24

Two goals in the first 15 minutes were enough for Clover to beat Chapin in the 2024 SCHSL 5A girls soccer championship on May 10 at Columbia’s Memorial Stadium.

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Chapin girls fall short of 5A championship dreams


Two goals in the first 15 minutes were enough for Clover to beat Chapin in the 2024 SCHSL 5A girls soccer championship on May 10 at Columbia’s Memorial Stadium.

Chapin found the back of the net in the 26th minute to cut the deficit to a single goal, but the two teams went scoreless the rest of the game to secure Clover’s first girls soccer title.

The Eagles got themselves in a hole early when Clover drew a penalty opportunity in the first five minutes of the game. Kentucky commit Marilia Nieves lined up one-on-one with Chapin’s goalie Olivia Bradley and struck the ball into the net.

“I think the PK within five minutes of the game kind of put us behind the eight ball a little bit,” Eagle head coach Chad Bridges said.

It seemed Chapin had swiftly responded to the Clover goal with a header in the seventh minute, but the goal was waved off after being ruled the Eagles were offside.

Things soon got worse for Chapin as Clover kept attacking and controlling possessions early. Clover eventually scored its second goal in the 15th minute to go up 2-0.

For about the first 20 minutes, Clover’s offense overwhelmed Chapin’s defense, keeping pressure on the Eagle with a relentless attack. Chapin’s girls got past the early struggles and displayed resiliency that made their coach proud.

“We didn’t quit. We fought back,” Bridges said. “Got to 2-1 in the half. I really did think we’d do a little better in the second half and control the ball a bit more. But it didn’t work out.”

Senior Darcy Ahern scored her final goal in a Chapin uniform in the 26th minute off of a rebound to pump new life into the Eagles.

Chapin got a few solid looks in the second half, which would have evened the score. But it was the goalies that shined the most during this 40-minute stretch.

The Eagles stuck with their two-goalie system and subbed Addison Bagnal in during the second half. She played phenomenally, stopping all six shots that came her way in the second half.


Her biggest save came in the final six minutes to keep a tie within reach. A ball soared past Chapin’s backline and was run down by a Clover forward who had a one-on-one opportunity against Bagnal. The keeper threw her body on the ball and saved the shot from going in the goal.

But on the other side of the field, Clover’s goalie was playing just as well. Gabriella Gudeman played all 80 minutes for Clover and stopped every shot except the lone goal that came her way. The most clutch save in the game occurred in the final few minutes when Ahern got another look at the goal before Gudeman stretched out for the save.

“I felt their keeper made some good saves, and that’s the way soccer goes,” Bridges said. “We figured that the next goal was going to change it, either it was going to become 2-2 or 3-1, so we were trying to get it, just couldn’t keep the ball in play.”

The next goal never came and the game ended with neither team scoring in the final 55 minutes of action. Despite the results, Bridges was proud of his team’s composure and ability to recover in the game. He just wishes it could have ended better for his seniors.

“I hate that we didn’t come through for our four seniors,” Bridges said.

Still, the coach said his team should be proud of what it accomplished in 2024. The Eagles finished 24-3, got revenge against the defending champions from Wando and finished as the 5A state runners-up.

“We’ve had a great season and done a lot of things and lower state champions, it’s still a great accomplishment,” Bridges said. “We’ll be upset and cry for how it ended. But we’ll come back and we’ll still love each other, and it’s okay for things to hurt a little bit. That all just means you care and it’s important to you.”

Bridges said the team has the talent to return to the championship game next season and this experience will be used as a learning opportunity. Chapin will begin the 2025 season fresh off its first title game appearance since 2017. Next season, the Eagles will look to finish the job.

“We’ve been to a state championship now, and we’ll be back. I honestly believe that we will be back,” Bridges said. “We have a lot of talent coming back. These girls are still going to be hungry to get that trophy.”

Chapin soccer, SCHSL Playoffs, Clover soccer


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