Patriots Advance to State Soccer Semis
For the third straight season the Patriot boys will be playing in the state 4-A soccer semifinals.
Led by an inspired effort from all-state senior Richard Palmer, the Patriots defeated the Laney Buccaneers 4-1 Saturday at Holliday Stadium in Wilmington. Palmer had two goals in the contest including the neutralizer on a brilliant strike in the 12th minute.
After intermission the teams returned to the pitch with the match tied at 1-1. Then, 6:44 later, Dane Nelsen scored the game winner on an assist from Taylor Morton. Hayden Little found the back of the net to finish off a great bit of Patriot one-two play making in the 62nd minute, pushing the Pinecrest lead to 3-1. Both Palmer and Morton were credited with assists on the play.
Palmer then capped off the scoring with his second goal, on an assist from Little, in the 71st minute. With the victory, Pinecrest (22-2-2) advances to next week's East Regional championship for a meeting with Green Hope in Cary, Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Green Hope (23-1, Tri-Nine Conference first seed) is the top-ranked 4-A team in the eurosportscoreboard.com poll. The Falcons clipped Fuquay-Varina 4-3 in Saturday's other sectional championship match to advance to the final four.
Laney, which was ranked fourth in the poll, finished the season with a record of 17-3.
Pinecrest, currently ranked eighth in the most current 4-A eurosportscoreboard.com poll (published on Nov. 8), enters the third and final week of the 2011 soccer playoffs unbeaten in its last 24 matches. The Patriots are 12-2 over their past three postseason campaigns, including their current four-match playoff winning streak.
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