FOLEY, Ala. -- Big-time players find a way a shine in big-time games, and that was certainly the case Thursday during the opening matches at the Southern Coast Cup.
Missouri signee Blythe Beldner netted the game-winner as Eureka (Mo.) stunned girls FAB 50 No. 10 Westminster Schools, 4-2. Also in that match, emerging star Sam Courtois, a junior, scored twice and assisted the game winner, and Xavier signee Haley Jakovich scored Eureka's other goal.
In other key matches, boys FAB 50 No. 4 Westminster Schools (Ga.) senior Charlie Ham scored the first goal, Alex Gracey scored twice and Miller Polly scored the fourth as the Wildcats rallied for a 4-1 victory over Edmond North (Okla.); No. 32 Christian Brothers (Tenn.) and Brookwood (Ga.) played to a 1-1 draw; girls FAB 50 No. 23 Padua Academy (Del.) rolled to a 6-0 win over Prattville (Ala.); and girls No. 25 Broken Arrow (Okla.) defeated Chelsea (Ala.) 2-0.
The following are the collective records by state vs. out-of-state opponents at the 78-team event: BOYS: South Carolina (1-0), Tennessee (2-0-2), Georgia (1-1-1), Alabama (1-2), Oklahoma (0-2-1); GIRLS: Delaware (1-0), Oklahoma (1-0-1), Missouri (1-0-1), Georgia (2-1), Alabama (0-4). The FAB 50-ranked teams combined for a 4-1-1 showing.
Thursday's first round kicked off with FAB 50 No. 1 Wando playing Broken Arrow on the stadium field, and it didn't take Marino long as he gave Wando a 1-0 lead. Broken Arrow tied the match when D'waylan McIntosh pounced on a rebound and sent a blistering shot into the top of the goal. The match turned on one play early in the second half. McIntosh drew a penalty kick that was taken by Alex Garcia. A conversion would have put the FAB 50 national champs back up against the wall, but instead Garcia's shot was easily saved by Wando keeper Will Kendrick. Only minutes later, Marino scored again for Wando, then Jackson Stebbins added the clincher as Wando kept Broken Arrow under pressure the rest of the match.
"I just think I want it more than others," Marino said of his history of netting game-winning goals. He scored the winner in last year's state final, and he's had more than a dozen game-winners in recent years between high school and club. "Scoring goals never gets old."
Westminster was seemingly in control of its boys match with Edmond North until Josh O'Keefe scored against the run of play midway through the first half. Charle Ham scored just three minutes before halftime to tie the match, then Westminster took over in the second half with two goals from Alex Gracey and a score from Miller Polly.
The marquee girls match Thursday pitted Westminster and Eureka, a recent FAB 50 member that fell out following a loss St. Joseph's Academy (Mo.). Eureka entered the contest on a two-match losing streak, while Westminster had lost only two matches in its last 65 outings, dating back to the 2015 season. Emma Tordella and Tori Penn staked Westminster to a 2-1 lead, but Eureka's Courtois and Beldner scored only minutes apart to rally Eureka before Courtois finished the match with a late goal. The contest featured a pair of penalty kicks -- both converted by each team -- only two minutes apart.
"This is a big win for us," Eureka coach Gary Schneider said. "We came down to have fun, but we also came down to win. We wanted to have a postseason feel. We were struggling at home and this was a chance to change some things (formation-wise)."
DAY 1 TOP PERFORMERS
(Note, this list will be updated later Friday after reports are filed by coaches/media/scouts)
GK: Chris Block, Westminster Schools (Ga.), Sr.: Block was seldom put under pressure, but delivered a strong performance. He was very strong on distribution, which helped Westminster start its attack.
D Tyler Broughton, Broken Arrow (Okla.), Jr.: Very good tackles on defense and showed the ability to recover well.
M Daniel DeSouza, Westminster Schools (Ga.), Jr.: DeSouza had a strong performance throughout the match.
GK: Will Kendrick, Wando (S.C.), Sr.: Kendrick was Wando's second-half keeper and shut out Broken Arrow for 40 minutes, which included saving a penalty kick.
F D'waylan McIntosh, Broken Arrow (Okla.), Sr.: Very quick and always on the attack. He scored a goal on a follow-up and drew a penalty kick later in the match. He was clearly Broken Arrow's most dynamic player.
D Justin Schaufele, Westminster Schools (Ga.), Sr.: A team team leader playing center back. Cleaned up a lot plays and even sprung a few quality long balls to keep Edmond North on its heels. Schaufele is headed to Duke to become a doctor.
D Annie Bernot, Westminster Schools (Ga.), Sr.: Didn't start due to illness, but was an impact player at right back when she got into the contest. In fact, one of her plays led to Westminster's second goal.
F Sam Courtois, Eureka (Mo.), Jr.: Scored two goals and assisted the game-winner to be the MVP of Eureka's win Thursday. "Sam is quiet, but I think she's breaking out of shell," coach Gary Schneider said. "She does things so well but she's so quiet it's easy to overlook her. That might be changing now."
F Tori Penn, Westminster Schools, So.: Penn scored Westminster's second goal. She was one of the standouts on a field that featured a number of Division I-bound players. Her speed helped keep Eureka's defense honest.
DAY 1 SUMMARIES
Wolf Bay Division
Bay La Launch Division
Fairhope (Ala.) 3, Discovery (Ga.) 0: n/a.
Wolf Bay Division
Bay La Launch Division