By Josh Holland
For the Forsyth County News
Until the final seconds of Friday’s game, Pinecrest Academy’s girls soccer team had kept Providence Christian from having a single touch in their box as they won the ball back immediately after losing it and applied immense pressure throughout the game.
The Paladins’ domination resulted in a 6-0 win to open Area 8 Class 1A Private play and gives Pinecrest a solid start on its quest to return to the state title game.
Providence Christian opened the game in a defensive set and maintained that shape throughout the game.
The Storm back line was fairly well organized, which meant
Pinecrest had to muster some creativity in order to get in on goal and create
Eventually, sophomore Grace Fowler was able to pick out fellow sophomore Elizabeth Crain from the right wing, setting up an easy tap in with 18 minutes left in the first half.
Pinecrest head coach Domenic Martelli explained how his side managed to break through the compact Providence defense after the game.
“I think we are starting to see a theme with teams (that) play against us, is they’re really packing it in. They’re parking the bus, so it takes us a while (to score),” Martelli said. “Our girls have to not be frustrated with trying to break that team down when they’re playing in front of the goal with 10 players.”
After the opening goal, Providence continued to play defensively, but the Paladins created more chances. Ten minutes later, Pinecrest doubled its lead through Fowler, who had her first shot blocked, but it fell back to her and she finished easily.
With five minutes left in the first half, Crain scored another, making the tap in from an inch-perfect pass look effortless.
Pinecrest scored with ease and was extremely solid defensively as Providence failed to get a touch inside the Pinecrest box for the entire first half.
The second half began in a similar fashion, with junior Sofia Alvarez Del Pino finding space near the top of the box to fire a shot into the back of the net, leaving the keeper motionless. The Paladins continued to rack up the goals, with one coming from a corner and another from Crain to make the score 6-0.
With 26 minutes left Pinecrest was awarded a penalty, but Sarah Brown placed it a touch too high and it ricocheted off the crossbar. For the rest of the game Pinecrest was unable to score, but they continued to dominate, and Providence were unable to create any real chances.
The puts the Paladins at 5-2 overall and 1-0 in area play ahead of Tuesday’s match against 7-1 Hebron Christian.