Pinecrest Academy coach Domenic Martelli was pretty matter-of-fact when describing the abilities possessed by his junior star, Mary Margaret Metz.
“There are a lot of things that she brings to the table that people can’t stop,” Martelli said. “Her speed, her ability to get in front of players and get to the goal with her first touch, and she has a great finishing ability.”
All of it was on display Friday night.
Metz scored four goals during a 12-minute stretch in the first half, fueling Pinecrest’s 9-0 rout of North Cobb Christian in a first-round Class A playoff game on the Lady Paladins’ pitch.
Klaire McDonald and Caroline Brenner each tacked on a pair of goals, leading shorthanded Pinecrest into the second round, where they’ll face Atlanta International next week.
The Lady Paladins overwhelmed North Cobb Christian, despite having only 12 players available. Star midfielder Erin Houlihan is trying to get back from an injury, and a band trip further depleted Martelli’s reserves. It didn’t matter.
McDonald opened the scoring just three minutes into the match, taking advantage of miscue by North Cobb Christian keeper Purity Gitau to put the Paladins ahead 1-0.
Metz took over from there. She buried a left-footer into the top-right corner of the net to extend the lead to 2-0 at the 18-minute mark. Five minutes later, she crossed up the keeper again and threaded home a goal off a tight angle.
At the 8:50 mark, Metz followed her own shot that caromed off the crossbar and hammered home her third goal in 10 minutes. She wasn’t through, though, and, minutes later, capitalized off of a nice pass over the North Cobb Christian defense from Pinecrest defensive back Danielle Miller for her fourth goal.
The Lady Paladins led 5-0 at halftime and were in complete command.
The onslaught continued in the second half, with Brenner scoring on a header off of a corner kick from Metz. The duo struck again a few minutes later, with Brenner scoring off another assist from Metz.
McDonald added a second-half goal, and Pinecrest benefitted from a North Cobb Christian own goal late in the half.
“I feel really good about where we are,” said Metz, who said she didn’t remember scoring four goals in a game.
While pleased with his team’s opening performance, Martelli knows the competition stiffens next week.
“Atlanta International has some really, really good players,” Martelli said. “But I think as a team we can do some things that will really benefit us. They have great frontrunner, a great defender and a great midfielder. What we have to do is make sure they don’t touch the ball as much during the game.”
Martelli said he hoped to Houlihan back for the second-round game.