Pinecrest vs Holly Springs 03.jpeg

Pinecrest senior Andrew Bonville dribbles around a Holly Springs defender at home Thursday in the second round of the 4A state playoffs.

After the first goal found the back of the net, and even after the second goal snuck into the Pinecrest goal, the Patriot boys soccer team’s demeanor didn’t stay down, and that’s what senior Landon McMinimy was proud of in his final high school soccer match.

“You can’t help but be a little disappointed seeing the first goal go in. I think we responded excellently,” McMinimy said after the 2-0 loss to Holly Springs at home Thursday.

“Of course we had our heads down at first, but it showed how we built each other up. We lifted our heads up. The coaches got involved and the bench got involved.”

For the senior midfielder and 15 others, it was the final time they would lace their cleats up as a member of the Pinecrest boys soccer team.

With a large senior class, and many stepping into bigger roles this season, the veteran Patriots had to adjust to the changes early on this season.

“Throughout the season we have had ups and downs, just trying to get that connectivity,” McMinimy said. “The first two weeks we were getting that connectivity and teamwork. We then all came together and showed team spirit.”

Holly Springs scored goals early in the second half after both teams went into halftime scoreless. The first came from Cameron Burke after a corner kick was battered around the Pinecrest goal, landing off a rebound to the foot of Burke he converted into a 1-0 lead.

Cole Burke scored the second goal off a pass perfectly placed in front of the goal to make it a 2-0 lead with 25 minutes left.

This season was the first in recent history Pinecrest didn’t claim at least a share of the conference title as Lee County won the Sandhills Athletic Conference regular season and tournament title. Eight players on the Pinecrest roster are juniors or sophomores, and McMinimy hopes the seniors created a firm foundation for those players going forward.

“We’ve had several team meetings with the coaches about what standards we want to project for the juniors coming in,” McMinimy said. “We didn’t want to downgrade each other, but use constructive criticism. Not just like, ‘Hey, you did wrong.’ Instead phrasing it like, ‘Here’s how you can do better.’”

Contact Jonathan Bym at (910) 693-2470 or jonathan@thepilot.com.

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