Pinecrest Patriots

Game 23

Pinecrest vs Fuquay-Varina
Tuesday, October 30th, 2007
John Williams Field, Southern Pines, NC
Fuquay-Varina Bengals
Goals: Not Available.
Assists: Not Available.
Pinecrest            0    0  -  0
Fuquay-Varina    1    0  -  1

By Dean Parziale: Special to The Pilot, Appeared Friday, November 2nd, 2007
     The Pinecrest boys' soccer season came to an abrupt halt Tuesday night as the visiting Fuquay-Varina Bengals eliminated the Patriots from the state 4-A playoffs by the narrowest of margins, 1-0.
     The chilly evening did not deter Pinecrest's loyal fans, with nearly 500 turning out to support this year's playoff effort, but it was not to be, as an early goal by the Bengals managed to stand up.
     Coach Larry Martin's side finished the season with its 11th straight conference championship and an outstanding 17-3-2 record, despite losing an all-conference player to a year-ending injury. Martin was directing his youngest team ever, with four sophomores and three juniors starting the final game and 11 underclassmen seeing action in the do-or-die affair.
     Bad luck or playoff nerves conspired against the Patriots, who were unable to finish the many quality chances they created during the match.
     Pinecrest took charge in the first 15 minutes with no less than five excellent scoring opportunities. Sophomore Thomas Goulden broke in off a long throw-in by junior Matt Carriker and missed the mark. Senior Michael Hieronymus created space at the edge of the penalty area, firing a rocket the Bengal keeper smothered. Another miss came on Carriker's left-footed effort from 20 yards that went high and wide. The last two misses came on a Carriker heave that senior Coby Kavanaugh headed to the keeper and finally a free kick by Kavanaugh from the corner of the penalty area that, after hitting the defensive wall, rebounded back to Kavanaugh, who could not find the frame.
     The game's only goal came at 17 minutes, as the Bengals counter-attacked straight downfield, passing through the Patriot backline onto an open left wing who beat senior keeper Brad McKeever to the short side from eight yards out. McKeever's play on the night was outstanding as he repelled two additional clean breaks and many long-range Bengal efforts. Pinecrest had two more unsuccessful chances before halftime, one coming from junior John Kropp with a testing 20-yard effort at 36 minutes and Kavanaugh with another 25-yard free kick a minute later.
     It was more of the same for the Patriots after the restart, as just two minutes in a stray ball would drop to Kavanaugh's feet at the edge of the penalty area, but his blast would skip past the post.
     At 47 minutes, junior Eric Parziale delivered a free kick into the danger area that rebounded nicely to Goulden, but his effort was also off target.
     Senior forward Tyler Dawson would create his own chance in the 55th minute, beating his defender, but his shot on goal was again smothered by the Fuquay keeper. At the hour mark, Kavanaugh would hammer a free kick from 22 yards past the wall of defenders. The Bengal keeper only managed to deflect the effort, but recovered the ball before a Patriot could pounce.
     The Patriots' last best chance would be somewhat controversial.
     The sequence began with sophomore Aaron Stroker beating his defender 30 yards from goal, and was racing toward the net when he was tripped by a Bengal defender at the very edge of the penalty area.
     After a serious discussion amongst the officials as to where the foul occurred, Pinecrest was awarded a free kick instead of the potentially game-changing penalty shot.
      The free kick was well placed by Kavanaugh, but Dawson's header just missed the net. Carriker would have one more go from 25 yards out that would curve wide of goal.
     Fuquay-Varina managed to kill the final five minutes of the Patriots' 2007 campaign.
      However, the abundance of talented underclassmen combined with the players moving up from a junior varsity squad that finished 17-1 appears to set the stage for a successful 2008 season.

Season:   Goals Scored: 82    Goals Allowed: 19     Overall Record: 17-3-2    Conference Record: 14-0-0

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