New Era Begins for PHS Soccer
For the first time in four years, the coach of the Pinecrest girls' soccer team will not be able to pencil in the 30 to 50 goals Latanya Cain was sure to score.
Cain now plays at N.C. State after scoring a school record 163 goals during her Patriot career, including 51 in her final year. Coming off a 19-2-1 2008 season, interim coach Todd Abbey knows things will have to be accomplished in a different way.
"The positive is that we have a good corps that has played together in high school and out of school," Abbey says. "I'm not starting from scratch.
"The understanding of this group is team first. With that kind of attitude, I think the team will do well."
The Patriots won their 11th consecutive conference title last year. They advanced to the second round of the state playoffs in Larry Martin's second year as the coach of the girls. In November, after completing his 14th campaign as the coach of the boys (225-62-24 record), he was relieved of his duties as coach of both programs.
Abbey, the executive of the Sandhills Futbol Club, was named to succeed Martin as the girls' coach just a week before practices began. The Patriots open the season on Thursday at Wakefield. The home opener is on Friday against Terry Sanford.
The new coach says Martin has been very helpful to him in the transition.
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm just building on what he's done," Abbey says. "I'm just focusing on this one season and we'll cross the next bridge when it comes."
Abbey has selected a squad made up of one senior, seven juniors, eight sophomores and three freshmen. He favors a possession versus direct style of play.
Leading the returnees is senior Lyndsey Anderson, a second team All-Mid-Southeastern Conference selection and four-year varsity player. Her 14 goals and nine assists last season were the most by any returning player in both categories.
Others back that earned second team honors include juniors Rebecca Dupre (11 goals, five assists) and Bailey Pages (four goals, three assists). Both are equally talented offensive and defensive players. Another honored was sophomore midfielder Beth Hieronymus (12 goals, seven assists).
Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Dejak (13 shutouts) and Pages also earned all-region recognition.
Among the juniors on the squad are varsity returnees Rachel Dokich and Megan Rock along with varsity newcomers Mary Barkley, Sarah Senior and Hailey Cioccalanti. The sophomore group includes returnee Claire Epling, Beth Hieronymus, Michele Lynch, Mariotti Meyers, Lauren Corrigan and goalkeeper Shannon Potter.
Freshmen making the team are Ally Parziale, Keegan Cary and Antonia Meyers.
Abbey feels the freshmen and new sophomores will be able to jump in and contribute right away.
"The starting rotation won't be set in stone so we'll be able to match up with other teams' strengths and weaknesses," he says.
Abbey played four years of soccer at Pinecrest. He played college soccer at Westchester University in Pennsylvania before transferring to Western Carolina where he earned a degree in sports management.
He was working for the Richmond Strikers Soccer Club in Virginia before moving back to Moore County with his wife, Tiffany and two children. There are about 350 youth currently being trained by the Sandhills Futbol Club.
Being back at Pinecrest is intriguing and kind of crazy," he says. "I feel I've established a good relationship with the players, parents and the administration."
A challenging non-conference schedule features home matches against Terry Sanford, Union Pines and Hoggard. In the conference, Scotland County returns goal-scorer Megan Brigman who shared player of the year honors last season with Cain.
Schedule: Mar. 5 -at Wakefield; 6 - Terry Sanford; 9 - at Cary; 13 - Union Pines; 16 -at Douglas Byrd; 18 - Scotland; 23 - at Richmond; 25 - Hoke; 30 - at Jack Britt; April 1 - Westover; 6 - Seventy-First; 8 -Douglas Byrd; 9 - Lumberton; 20 - at Scotland; 22 - Richmond; 23 - at East Chapel Hill; 27 - at Hoke; 29 -Jack Britt; May 1 - Hoggard; 4 - at Westover; 6 - at Seventy-First; 13 - First round state playoffs.
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