Patriot Girls Take Scots in Double OT
The Patriots girls' soccer team defeated conference rival Scotland 3-2 in overtime Monday night on a soggy pitch at Pinecrest.
Lyndsey Anderson scored the winning goal for Pinecrest with 6:49 remaining in the second overtime period. Pats' Morgan Maples and Katie Letsinger had assists on the play.
Anderson said the Scotland defenders were really playing her aggressive late in the game.
"I had the ball and they were trying to push me," she said, "and I got a little room while they were still on me and just felt like I had to take the shot. This win feels great because Scotland really stepped it up tonight, and we knew we had to do whatever it took to win. Our heart was really in this match and that is why we were able to pull it out."
Patriot head coach Larry Martin felt that the match lived up to the high expectations surrounding it.
"That was a good game," he said. "It was everything it was built up to be, and the reason is because that was two pretty good teams playing out there. Scotland County is a great team, and I think they will surprise a couple of schools in the playoffs. I think they will go at least two games deep.
"My team did not quit. There was a lot of heart demonstrated on both sides tonight, and, boy, was it a fun contest. We honestly wish we had more games like this to toughen us up, because this is the sort of high-quality play we are going to see down the road in the playoffs and matches like this help you become better prepared for that sort of (all-game long) pressure and intensity."
With the victory, Pinecrest is now 9-0 in the Mid-Southeastern Conference, two games clear of Scotland (7-2 in the conference and 13-2-0 overall). On the year, the Pat's are 12-1-1, with their only loss coming to J.T. Hoggard High, which is ranked 12th in the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association (NCSCA) 4-A poll. Coming into the match, Pinecrest was the 15th-ranked team in the current NCSCA 4-A poll.
In the first half of Monday's league clash, the early action produced no goals on the soggy night, leaving the match scoreless at halftime.
As the second half started, Pinecrest dominated possession of the ball for the first 12 minutes. Then in the 53rd minute, Pinecrest scored the first goal of the match to take a 1-0 lead. Pat sophomore sweeper Bailey Pages sent a long ball up field that resulted in a play that saw an Anderson shot scoot between Scotland keeper Jessi Newton's legs and into the back of the net.
Pages said that games of this magnitude seem to just kick her adrenaline into overdrive.
"When it's a big game like this," she said, "and Coach Martin is really stretching it, I really get in that competitive mode. In a close match where both teams are shining, it just inspires me to step it up because it is a great chance to excel and help your team carry it out and win the game. It (soccer) is a beautiful game when it's like that, and it is really fun to watch (and to be a participant.)
Less than two minutes later, Scotland tied the match at 1-all. Liza Purcell sent a long through ball over the top to Scotland's leading scorer Megan Brigman. Managing to just stay onsides, she collected the ball, dribbled 30 yards down field and scored on a one-on-one breakaway. With 17:43 left in the match, Scotland scored again to take a 2-1 lead as Scot forward Josephine Yang got free near the box and beat Patriot keeper Sarah Dejak.
Throughout the game, the Patriots leading scorer, Latanya Cain, drew triple and quadruple coverage anytime she touched the ball past the 25. Pat midfielder Letsinger said Pinecrest tried to draw people out to counter Scotland's strategy.
"Latanya was trying to break down the center (of their defense)," Letsinger said, "so we were trying our best to bring some of the defenders out with us by going wider."
With time running out in the match, Martin moved Pages up to the top. The moved paid off, as she tied the game at 2-all in the 74th minute. Pages received the ball from Lisa Hopkins near the front left of the goal, where she faked left, causing the keeper to fall. She then sent the ball between the posts. Pages said she really wanted to score.
"I saw that ball coming," she said, "and was like, I am getting that. It felt really good to be able to tie the game, as the competition was heating up, and get us back in the match."
Pinecrest came into the game shorthanded as it was missing three players, including starters Amber Fernandez and Claire Epling. Maples felt the win was a major one for Pinecrest in light of its rivalry with Scotland.
"It just feels great," she said. "The thing is, I play club soccer with four of the girls on Scotland's team and tennis with half of them too. Our schools are such big rivals in soccer and baseball too, so it is a great win for us as a soccer team, but it is a great win for the school too."
Letsinger never doubted that Pinecrest would come out on top.
"We are a special team," she said. "We work well together and we are their (Scotland's) biggest competitor so we put all our heart into it, and we knew we had to win."
The Patriots are on the road tonight in Rockingham. At 7 p.m. they square off against conference foe Richmond Senior, who is 4-5 in the league and 6-7 overall. Pinecrest defeated Richmond 7-0 earlier in the season at John Williams Athletic Complex.
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