Cain, Patriots Race Past Vikings in Girls' Soccer
Wednesday night at Pinecrest, Patriot senior-forward Latanya Cain proved on the pitch why she is a blue-chip high school soccer star, scoring four goals to help her team deal cross-county rival Union Pines a 6-0 drubbing.
"We really wanted this game," Cain said. "We had the heart and the drive and did what we needed to."
Patriot head coach Larry Martin felt Cain showed why she will be playing her soccer this fall as a scholarship member of N.C. State women's soccer team.
"She is just capable of doing so many things," Martin said. "Tonight I thought her scores were spectacular, in that she watched and responded to what the defense was doing. She did a nice job of taking what the Viking defense gave her, and that is one of her many strengths."
Cain simply dominated play. She juked and shook off Vike defenders all match, leaving them in the dust time after time after time. Demonstrating Wednesday that she was on a different level, Cain basically did whatever she wanted while dribbling, made 20- to 30-yard runs, distributed the ball well on sends, crosses and drops, and racked up a 50-percent scoring percentage on eight shots.
Cain said the win felt great. It was the first time the two teams had met since 2002.
"We came into the game very, very enthused," she said. "Union Pines is our rival and we just wanted to come in and get off to a good start, which we did."
Cain scored Pinecrest's first goal in the ninth minute of play, when she received a through-ball from Sara White, near the 30. She raced past the Viking defense into the top-left corner of the box, made a cut, ran parallel to the goal and unleashed a rocket that found the back of the net to give the Patriots the early lead. Less than two minutes later, senior midfielder Morgan Maples scored on a one-timer, via a drop from Lindsey Anderson, to give Pinecrest a 2-0 advantage with 29:49 remaining in the first half.
Martin said Maples had a solid game.
"She played some for us up-top and did real well there," he said. "She also did a great job on the outside."
Maples was not too surprised with the game's lopsided result, although she did admit that her stomach was churning when the game started.
"We have been working really hard," said Maples, "and this is the first time we have played the Vikings since I have been here. It is a real big deal -- we really worked up for this game. Earlier in the school year, the (Vike) boys' team tied us -- because of that match, there has been a lot of animosity around here towards Union Pines and we got them back tonight. Payback is sweet."
Martin was pleased with the way his team set the tone in the early part of the match by doing a solid job of switching up its points of attack on offense.
"I wanted to get the girls to make sure we were high pressure in terms of the way we played," he said, "and keep them (Union Pines) under constant pressure, get their heads down and try to create some turnovers and action in transition. I thought if we could do that and be patient ... that we would be OK."
The Patriots would score their third and final goal of the first stanza in the 26th minute, when Amber Fernandez fired a missile from 22 yards out that flew between the posts.
Pinecrest dominated possession of the ball in the first half. The Patriots out shot the Vikings 17-3 in the opening period and had six corner kicks while Union Pines had none. In the second half, it was more of the same, as Union Pines could not pose any serious scoring threat.
In fact, the Vikes did not manage to get a single shot off in the final stanza, while eight different Patriots combined for 17 second-half Pinecrest shots. Cain was able to put three of those shots in the back of the net and the Patriots went on to blank the Vikings 6-0. Her second goal of the game came in the 52nd minute on a breakaway. Then she picked up the hat trick on another breakaway shot with 15:14 left in the match. Cain's fourth and final score of the night came with 3:08 left to play when Maples sent a ball to her near the 25 that she collected, dribbled into the box and blasted into the goal from pointblank range.
Cain was glad that she was able to become part of the history of the "Battle of the Pines" rivalry. "This is a game that I have always been looking forward to," she said, "and for us tonight was all about (earning) respect in this area. We really have not been getting much respect lately locally. Everyone has been wondering which team was better and tonight we came out and showed that we are a strong and respectable team in Moore County."
One major reason Union Pines had such a tough time creating any legitimate scoring opportunities in the match was the outstanding defensive play of Pat senior fullback Sara White and sophomore sweeper Bailey Pages.
White, who remained calm under pressure the entire evening, felt Pinecrest played with more heart during the match and passed the ball effectively.
"I think we did really well," she said. "Coach Martin has been emphasizing our defense and getting to the 50-50 balls first and I think we were able to do that tonight. He also got us really pumped up, which helped just because it is such a big rivalry."
Pages came into the game determined to leave everything she had out on the field.
"I know many of the girls on the Union Pines' team," said the sophomore, "so it helped me strive to just go all out. Our schools are very big rivals and I did not want them to get a goal at all, because if they did it would have been very embarrassing for our school."
Martin felt Union Pines did a good job responding to and getting in front of the ball.
"When you play a team like them," said Martin, "the way to score is to move the ball and I thought we possessed the ball well and created many opportunities. While I do think we had a speed advantage on the outside and exploited that a bit, for a 6-0 result I still think Union Pines has a nice team with some quality players. I was impressed with many of the Vikings and thought keeper Jessie Puszynski did a good job. She made some great saves."
With the non-conference win, Pinecrest improved to 6-1-1 on the year. Union Pines is 5-3-1.
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