Pinecrest Academy players stormed the field and tackled goalkeeper Garrison Winter as the final horn went off at Raider Valley on Friday night. The Paladins were celebrating a 10-8 victory over North Forsyth in what was a back and forth affair.
The win over North marked the first win for Pinecrest in what is their inaugural season of varsity lacrosse.
“I think tonight, just by the way the kids didn’t give up and they didn’t quit, that’s the attitude we [have to] have the rest of the season,” Pinecrest coach Patrick Aiello said. “We’re going to play the established teams and for us to have that attitude like we had tonight and not quit. I think the more they believe the better they’re going to get, and a game like this is a perfect example.”
North (0-1) got out to a 2-1 lead, but three straight goals by attackman Adam Guard put Pinecrest (1-1) ahead 4-2 early into the second quarter.
“There are so many things that our team did well as a whole,” Guard said. “It was really a team effort even though I had a lot of goals. It was a big team effort because their defense had to worry about everybody; I was just the one who had the shots tonight.”
Pinecrest held the lead, though never by more than two goals, until North scored a sharp-angled goal that beat Winter short-side with 8:08 remaining in the game. The goal, set-up by attackman Chase Chapman, tied the score at seven.
The crowd was cheering. Momentum seemed to favor the Raiders, but the Paladins quickly responded with another goal by Guard (6 goals, 14 shots) who received a perfect pass from Jack Binkley. Binkley was working below the goal line and found Guard in the slot for the one-timer. It was just one of five assists for Binkley on the night, three to Guard, to go along with two goals.
“Jack does such a good job of beating his man and making my man cut, so it just leaves me wide open and all I got to do is finish what he started,” Guard said.
That goal came with 6:17 remaining. Twenty-one seconds later, Mitchell Ojeda (2 goals) scored on a great individual effort where he deked out a couple defenders, took it around the goal and scooped it between the legs of the goalkeeper. Ojeda’s goal proved to be the game-winner as North was only able to score once more within the final minutes.
“Our team showed a lot of heart,” North coach Don Hilton said. “They played up until the final whistle. They take everything to heart, and it’s real tough when you only have two practices in two weeks. The wet weather really killed us, but Pinecrest looked great.”