Patriots Claim Another League Soccer Win
A large and enthusiastic crowd of soccer fans was on hand at the John Williams Athletic Field as the Pinecrest Patriot boys’ soccer team used a second-half rally to claim a 5-0 victory over the Fighting Scots of Scotland High School in a Southeastern Conference contest.
With the latest victory, Pinecrest now stands at 12-2-1 and 7-0-0, and in sole possession of first place in conference play following Hoke County’s loss to Lumberton on Monday night. Scotland is now 7-9-1 overall and 2-4-1 in the conference
The Patriots managed only one goal in the opening half after Hayden Little punched the ball into the back of the net from about 12 feet in the 15th minute.
Both teams made numerous defensive stops, but neither found much offensive firepower. With a Pinecrest red card issued midway through the first half, the hosts played a man down the remainder of the game, forcing Pinecrest to constantly readjust its game plan.
“It was interesting to be put in a situation so early in the game to go to 10 men,” said Patriot coach Todd Abbey. “And even though I really don’t want to be put in that position at any time, it was just another learning experience for the boys.
“In the end, the result was four goals with a man down. So I was proud of the guys for making the adjustment so easily and not becoming flustered.”
Senior defender Morgan Van Camp contributed two perfectly-aimed assists to open up the game in the second half. The first was from the left corner to a waiting Richard Palmer in front of the goal. Van Camp’s corner kick 15 minutes later resulted in a header by Barrett Goulden.
The junior tandem of Taylor Morton and Drew Phillips complimented each other on the final two Patriot goals, back-to-back scores and reciprocating assists.
Phillips found a breaking Morton for a header, and 50 seconds later, Morton returned the favor with his own assist after hearing Phillips call for the ball in close. Phillips is a primary part of Abbey’s liberal player rotation and admits that when he’s in the game, he has a lot to prove.
“I knew we were playing a man down, and when I had my opportunity, I knew I had to play hard,” Phillips said. “We played a lazy first half and we had to step it up. I heard Taylor yelling at me to ‘cross it,’ and I knew he’d be in the box.”
The two have played club soccer together over the last few years, and there is a comfort level that exists between them, down to recognizing the voice commands on the field. Morton agreed that he and Phillips always have a feel for each other’s locations on the field from playing together, and they do recognize each other’s voice.
Morton, who is from Scotland County and is acquainted with many of the visiting players, heard a lot of other voices during the game, too.
“Yeah, they (Scotland players) talked a lot during the game,” he laughed, “but it just made me play harder. I knew we had to put that game away and score some goals in the second half.”
Perhaps the Patriots re-energized after their interaction with the dozens of AC Sandhills youth soccer players who were honored at halftime. Each rec and club team was announced during a celebratory parade and was given a special greeting by the varsity boys’ team, who formed two lines and high-fived the community players.
“Youth soccer night is a great opportunity to showcase the talent of the high school players to our young players,” said Abbey, who is also executive director of AC Sandhills. “Hopefully, we can show them that this could be them someday.
“Most all of these Pinecrest players have come through this same youth system over many years. Obviously, it has produced some very successful teams.”
Coach Evan Saleeby’s junior varsity squad took a decisive 12-0 victory over the Scotland team. Jayvee scorers included Sam Alexander, Mitchell Casey (two), Spencer Eltschlager, Jovanny Gonzalez, Nick Guyon, Hunter Hawes, Mark Kropp, Sam Kruyer, Philip Lett, Chris Maser and Clay Richter. The jayvees have a clean record at 10-0-0.
Next up for Pinecrest is a trip to Purnell Swett Wednesday for a game between the varsity teams only. Thursday night, undefeated Jack Britt (17-0-0), who holds down the fifth spot in the Eurosportscoreboard.com rankings, entertains both Patriot teams in Fayetteville.
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