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Soccer: No. 1 Pinecrest girls fend off Lakeview behind Crain's 5 goals
Pinecrest Academy senior Ivey Crain lines up her first of five goals Monday during the Paladins' 5-3 win against Lakeview Academy. - photo by David Roberts

Domenic Martelli decided to share some information with his team during halftime of Monday's match.

Pinecrest Academy's girls soccer team trailed Lakeview Academy by two goals after the first half, and the Lions had set a blistering pace through the first 10 minutes of the match, racking up eight shots and scoring twice.

What Martelli knew is that the latest coaches' poll had been released that afternoon. What he suspected his players didn't know is that the Paladins are the No. 1 team in Class 1A Private.

"I told them at halftime, I said, 'I didn't tell you guys before the game, but we're the No. 1 team. Did we play that way in the first half? No. Will we play that way in the second half? Absolutely,'" Martelli said.

Ivey Crain scored four second-half goals, Pinecrest's defense pitched a shutout over the final 40 minutes, and the Paladins showed why they're the top team in the classification with a 5-3 come-from-behind victory over Lakeview.

Crain scored all five goals for the Paladins, including a penalty kick that tied the game 3-3 with 35:51 remaining, her second goal in as many minutes.

Later in the half, Crain traded possession with Fiamma del Balzo while the two sprinted up the field, with del Balzo's final pass allowing Crain to break free and beat Lakeview's keeper to give Pinecrest the lead.

Crain struck again three minutes later when she corralled a perfect pass by Camryn Newman and sent it into the net.

"In the second half, the best thing we did was just making those extra passes to allow the space to open up for Ivey," Martelli said. "Then she has more room to go past people, because they were just so compact and we never drew them out with the extra pass."

Meanwhile, Pinecrest's defense stepped up and held Lakeview off the board completely in the second half, led by several saves by Ashley Kutter, including a stop on a one-on-one breakaway.

That save returned possession to the Paladins, and 44 seconds later, Crain's fourth goal made it a 4-3 game.

"When we prepare for these teams, you have to prepare for certain players," Martelli said. "Millie Filson is one of the best players in the state and she could be the best high school player I've seen in a long time, just what she does in a game and how she can take over. Then they have that connection with her sister, who just does so much."

Pinecrest [9-1, 2-0 Region 6-1A Private] will travel to Forsyth Central at 5 p.m. Friday for an intracounty showdown with the Bulldogs. Pinecrest has faced three Forsyth County public schools this season, winning 5-4 against North Forsyth, 5-2 against East Forsyth and 2-0 against South Forsyth.