Pinecrest Academy’s soccer teams are ready to take the next step.
The boys’ soccer squad became Pinecrest’s first to qualify for the postseason in any sport since 2010, when the school left the Georgia Independent School Association to join the Georgia High School Association.
The No. 3-seed Paladins weren’t satisfied with just making the tournament. They upset No. 2-seed Lakeview Academy 3-1 in the first round of the Class A soccer playoffs.
In the second round, Pinecrest couldn’t keep the momentum going and fell 6-1 to eventual state champion Paideia.
And the soccer program began the offseason with a major announcement.
Tom McCabe, who guided Pinecrest to the playoffs, is giving way to Chris Kane, who coached the team from 2008-12.
McCabe took over the program when Kane left after the 2012 season to spend more time with his family, said athletic director Tom Palmer.
“I’m ecstatic,” Palmer said. “He’s obviously very accomplished … and Tom McCabe will be his assistant.
“Tom McCabe took it over with some help because his hands are real full with his academic schedule and some apostolic stuff he does for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
“He really was an emergency and now he’s going to get back into it, but Chris is much more experienced. Tom really went over and above the call of duty for a year.”
McCabe was on a mission trip out of the country and unavailable for comment last week.
During Kane’s tenure at Pinecrest, he was been named a two-time Regional Coach of the Year, GISA State Coach of the Year and coached the 2010 boys team to the state championship.
Kane has coached soccer for 20 years, including at five-year head coaching stint at Marshall University.
Kane will oversee the varsity girls and boys’ soccer teams next season. Although both duties will be demanding, he thinks he can handle the challenge.
“I wouldn’t use the word difficult, but definitely tiring,” Kane said. “The hardest thing will be making sure that we are prepared every day for training and neither side feels slighted. But it will be fun nonetheless and I am looking forward to [it].
“[I’m excited] just getting back on the field with the kids and helping and watching them grow as players, but more importantly as people. When you coach and teach at the [high school] level, you get to see different sides of every student and they get to see a different side of you, and that’s invaluable.”
The Paladins will have some holes to fill in 2014, as they lose four seniors and Luis Garcia-Ulloa, the team’s leading scorer, who is moving back to Mexico with his family.
“My hope is that we can go further, but every year is different with high school soccer,” Kane said. “Pinecrest graduates four seniors that have had an incredible impact on the program.
“But we have some good freshmen coming in and you never know who is going to move into the area, so we’ll see.”