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Soccer: Pinecrest Academy boys, girls sweep into Elite 8
Pinecrest Academy junior Camryn Newman, left, passes up the field to senior Ivey Crain during the Paladins' 2-0 win Tuesday in the Class 1A Private Sweet 16. - photo by David Roberts

By Derrick Richemond

Pinecrest Academy earned a doubleheader sweep Tuesday to advance to the Class 1A Private Elite Eight stage of the GHSA state playoffs. 

Ivey Crain’s two goals helped the Paladins' No. 1-ranked girls soccer team capture a 2-0 win over Trinity Christian. 

The Paladins got on the board first when senior Kate Prados passed the ball to Crain, who had a clear-cut lane to the goal and dribbled around the Trinity Christian defender to get the ball in the net. 

The Paladins nearly had another goal off Grace Fowler’s free kick, but Trinity Christian goalkeeper Tori Pabst made a diving save to catch the ball.

The Paladins went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.

“The game of soccer could be cruel, and that 1-0 lead was very scary more than anything because of the offensive attack Trinity has,” Pinecrest coach Domenic Martelli said. “We had a lot of chances in the first half. Their keeper came up big.” 

To open the second half, Crain came across another one-on-one matchup with Pabst, but she was able to fall on the ball before Crain could get the opportunity to shoot. 

There were five times that Trinity Christian was able to get shots off, but Paladin’s goalkeeper Ashley Kutter handled every ball that rolled her way.

In the final three minutes of the match, Crain found the back of the net one more time, cutting inside in front of her defender for her second goal of the game.

“You can say the game was determined by my legs, but it’s really a team effort all around. From our goalkeeper all the way up to our midfield and to me up top, we had our strategy down,” Crain said.

Pinecrest [16-2] earned its fifth shutout this season and will face No. 4 Wesleyan on Monday in the quarterfinals.

Pinecrest's eighth-ranked boys soccer team also reached the Elite Eight with after defeating Heritage-Newnan 3-1.

“I don’t think I could remember three beautiful goals tonight. We had to do a lot of things we usually don’t do really, really well and that’s what helped us tonight,” Martelli said. 

Senior Colin Brown initiated the scoring midway through the first half when he found Sebastian Santa Maria, who fired the ball from the 20-yard line into the back of the net to put the Paladins up 1-0. 

Shortly after, Brown sprinted past a Heritage-Newnan defender to get a goal of his own to extend the lead 2-0.

Late in the first half, Heritage had an opportunity to put points on the board from a penalty kick, but senior Evan Kane doves right to knock the ball away and prevent Heritage from scoring ahead of halftime.  

“The penalty kick definitely helped us, because they would’ve scored with one minute before halftime. That save really made a big difference for us to keep the momentum going,” Martelli said.

Two minutes into the second half, senior Michael Kutter kicked a free kick from the 40 yard-line to Pat Frain, who jumped in the air and kicked the ball straight into the net. 

“Michael Kutter could really make a beautiful cross serve, and he was able to put it exactly where we talked about it. I think Pat was going to head it, but he got up, and it went right above the keeper. It was a beautiful goal,” Martelli said.

Pinecrest boys will face Providence Christian Academy on April 26 after the Storm beat Savannah Country Day 3-1.