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Pinecrest Academy boys soccer flips script on Fellowship
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Forsyth County News

Pinecrest wanted to prove that their loss to Fellowship last week was a fluke. They accomplished that objective Friday night with a 3-1 win over Fellowship at Paladin field.

“The game plan was to come out and match their intensity,” Pinecrest coach Chris Kane said. “When they came out against us last week, they just overwhelmed us early on.”

Pinecrest had just been shellacked by Fellowship 6-1 on March 10.

Pinecrest started strong this time around, however, scoring nine minutes into the game. Gabriel Villar was able to redirect a pass through a mess of traffic in front of the net to score his first goal of the season.

Pinecrest goalkeeper Luke del Balzo made some point blank saves to allow Pinecrest the 1-0 advantage at the half.

“We just played the game that we knew we could play,” Kane said. “Which was possess the ball and then utilize our strengths.”

Five minutes into the second half, Logan Hamilton scored for Pinecrest on a hard shot from outside the box. The goalkeeper appeared to make the diving save, but it deflected down and squirted in after the goalkeeper landed on it.

Fellowship appeared to have scored with 21:19 remaining, but junior Jake Williamson was called for pushing off the defender before he was able to head the ball in.

The game was physical throughout. A lot of fouls, a couple hard tackles and some jawing between plays put players on edge.

With 17:50 to go, Hamilton received a pass on the break and when he tried to carry it across the face of the goal, the keeper lunged out and tripped him.

Hamilton stayed down for quite some time while trainers came to check on him. No call was made, much to the dismay of the Pinecrest fans, as the official claimed the Fellowship goalkeeper was lunging for the ball.

Hamilton came back and scored on a nice run down the far side, blasting it past the goalkeeper. Hamilton’s second goal put Pinecrest up 3-0 with 11:35 left.

“Going into this game, knowing we got beat [6-1], I had more of an inclination to play my hardest,” Hamilton said. “To give my 100 percent, just because of that, and I think that’s exactly what I did.”

Fellowship scored a goal late to break del Balzo’s shutout, but it wasn’t enough as Pinecrest pulled the upset.

“This was the team that I knew that we had,” Kane said. “We just needed to respond and I’m happy with the way we responded.”

Fellowship Christian 3, Pinecrest Academy girls 1: Pinecrest controlled play for the first 20 minutes, generating some great scoring chances, but Fellowship’s Mackenzie Gibbs was able to score off a free kick from close to midfield with 12:28 left in the first half. Gibbs shot a bouncing ball that fooled the goalkeeper and found itself in the goal to put Fellowship ahead.

It was 1-0 in the second half until Pinecrest got called for a handball in the box and Fellowship’s Stephanie Haigwood was able to score on the ensuing penalty kick.

“I thought we outplayed them,” Pinecrest sophomore Mary Margaret Metz said. “Their goals were off our mistakes.”

Pinecrest seemed to turn up the intensity after that which led to a goal by Metz who made a strong run and fired the ball mid-stride past the goalkeeper on the short side with 26:01 left.

The teams traded chances the rest of the way until Fellowship’s Rachel Haigwood was able to get the insurance goal with 20 seconds left. Pinecrest’s goalkeeper came out to play the ball and collided with a defender allowing Haigwood to kick the ball into the open net to seal the victory for Fellowship.