Patriots Blank Trojans in Soccer Playoffs
PHS Soccer: 2011 Playoffs RND 1
The Pinecrest Patriots cruised to a 7-0 victory against Pine Forest Tuesday, in the opening round of the 4-A NCHSAA state playoffs contested at the John Williams Athletic Complex. Photos by Donna Ford
Pinecrest cruised to a 7-0 victory against Pine Forest Tuesday in the opening round of the NCHSAA state 4-A boys’ soccer playoffs.
The Patriots, who improved to 19-2-2 on the season with the victory, outshot the visiting Trojans 22 to 1 through the opening half of action to take a 4-0 lead into intermission at the John Williams Athletic Complex.
From start to finish, head coach Todd Abbey’s Patriot squad completely controlled every facet of the contest.
“We will just go into practice now and continue the pace,” said Abbey. “We can’t change our approach based on whether we win games big or it’s a tight margin. We have to continue to practice at the same speed. Yesterday was a very intense practice, which is good for us, and today it showed on the field.”
Starting outside fullback Max Clare struck first for the Pats, finding the back of the net on a rebound in the box after a shot by Nick Kruyer. A corner kick on goal, struck from the right side by Jake Harbeck, initiated the score that gave the home team a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute of action.
By the end of the first half, Pinecrest had totaled 11 corner kicks as its offense completely controlled possession of the ball. However, it took quite a while for the Pats to find the goal for a second time as 10 shots later they were still stuck leading 1-0 with seven minutes left to play in the opening stanza.
When the Patriots did finally break the seal that had seemingly protected the goal, they shattered it. Over the final six minutes of the frame, Pinecrest scored three goals on three shots, the first of which came at the 5:31 mark when Dane Nelsen scored after a cross by Hayden Little.
Little scored less than four minutes later on a slick send by senior midfielder Richard Palmer, who made a brilliant touch with his chest on a long cross-field pass played up by Clare. After collecting it, Palmer made a touch and slipped a through ball with pace at the feet of Little, who banged it in to give Pinecrest a 3-0 lead.
Nelsen struck again in the 39th minute, when he beat the keeper on a one-timer. Taylor Morton was credited with the assist on the goal, as he made a dynamic pass after cutting in on a run. The ball by Taylor set Nelsen up for a point-blank chance at the back post, which the senior forward finished nicely.
Palmer, Harbeck and Shane Bridgman scored for Pinecrest in the second half. Palmer’s goal came on a full bicycle kick, after a corner by Morton in the 49th minute. Harbeck’s goal came on a penalty kick in the 52nd minute, while Bridgman got the ball into the back of the net in the 56th minute after receiving a crisp, low cross from Drew Phillips.
Even though it came on a PK, the goal was still a good way for Harbeck to celebrate his birthday, along with a Patriot victory.
“As a team we possess the ball a lot,” Harbeck said, “and that’s going to help us out in the long run. In that sense, I think it was good to play a team that was not so skilled in round one, so we can get our touch in, and really get the feel of it moving forward.”
Pinecrest hosts Knightdale (12-6-3, Greater Neuse River Conference two seed) Saturday, in second-round playoff action in Southern Pines at 6 p.m.
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com
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