By Josh Holland
For the Forsyth County News
The first half of the Pinecrest girls soccer team’s first round state playoff game against Whitefield on Tuesday showed that the run of play only means so much. The Paladins controlled most of the possession of the first half and had most of the chances, and they also had the first goal. But a quick counter by the WolfPack with six minutes in the first half had the game level.
Nine minutes into the second half, though, Pinecrest’s advantage was again apparent. The Paladins were awarded a free kick five yards in front of the halfway line, and Haley Triplett stepped up to send the ball in. She lobbed the ball towards the Whitefield keeper, who came out to get it, but it went straight through her hands and into the back of the net.
From this point onwards the Paladins never looked back and went on to win 3-1 at home on Tuesday afternoon.
The warn weather made for a slightly sluggish start from both sides, who were sloppy with possession and lacked energy in defense. Despite this, both teams created chances and Pinecrest got on the board first through. Allison Doerr who curled her shot from the edge of the box right over the keeper.
This boosted the home sides momentum until Whitefield struck quickly on the counter to level the scoreline with six minutes left in the first half. Pinecrest coach, Dom Martelli, explained the goal his team gave up after the game.
“We were caught on a throw in and they were able to turn our defense and went in and scored a really nice goal,” Martelli said. “And then you fight. We got a nice early goal that was fortunate and we got a late goal in the second half to make it 3-1.”
Pinecrest continued to apply the pressure once the second half started, which ultimately resulted in Triplett’s goal. From this point onwards Pinecrest seemed to have the majority of possession but Whiteside were still getting forward, eager to equalize.
With a minute left, Pinecrest were awarded a penalty which was buried effortlessly by Doerr for her second of the night. The goal was icing on the cake for the Paladins who advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. After the game, Doerr explained the root of her side’s motivation to make a playoff run.
“We’re losing a lot of seniors this year and we’ve decided that this is for them,” Doerr said. “We want to go as far as possible, but we’re focusing on it one game at a time.”