Pinecrest Academy's girls soccer came one goal short of a region championship Thursday, falling 2-1 against Fellowship Christian Academy.
The Paladins would have won Region 6-1A Private with a win, but instead finished fourth in the region, still good enough to qualify for a berth in the Class 1A Private playoffs.
“Honestly, we still haven’t played with our best 11 all year, whether it be injury, vacations or mission trips," Pinecrest coach Domenic Martelli said. "To me, that’s gonna be exciting for Tuesday.”
All three of the game's goals came within 1:44 of each other. Just 30 seconds after Fellowship scored its first goal, Ivey Crain came off of the restart blazing down the field to put the ball into the net.
Fellowship did not skip a beat, moving the ball around the Pinecrest defense to score the second and ultimately game-winning goal.
Martelli said he was incredibly proud of the effort his team put into the second half to try and tie or take the lead from Fellowship.
“What a second half,” Martelli said. “I loved the way the girls played. We created chances, we defended well and we worked the ball to the midfield. They gave themselves everything that they could.”
Pinecrest continued to get shots on goal throughout the game’s entirety, but could not get another one to get past the goalie, with several shots hitting off crossbars.
Pinecrest had three corner kicks fewer than five minutes in the game, but the Paladins could not capitalize.
A fourth-place finish means Pinecrest will travel to North Cobb Christian in Kennesaw for the first round of the state tournament.
Martelli added that he was concerned that NCC have a smaller field and that the field is from grass.
“We’ll fire the bus up, get out of school a little early, and hopefully go win us a soccer game,” Martelli said.
He added that he thinks the first-round match will be the first time all season that his entire team will be together on the field.
Pinecrest went into Thursday’s match ranked No. 8 in the GA Coaches Poll, so teams are aware that the Paladins have upset potential.
“Everybody is bringing something to the table,” Martelli said. “That’s what our conversation was before the game. Now, add more stuff to the table. Now, I’m Italian. If you keep bringing food out, it’s gonna be a good night.”
No official time has been set for the first-round matchup.