Fast Start Fuels Pine Tree’s 4-1 Second-Round Soccer Playoff Victory vs. Pleasant Grove
LONGVIEW — When Pine Tree senior Emily Shelton sent a shot off the crossbar 30 seconds into Thursday’s match, the Lady Pirates felt good about avoiding another overtime contest.
The near-goal was a harbinger of what came later. The Lady Pirates scored 51 seconds into the match, then again eight minutes after that en route to a 4-1 win against Pleasant Grove in a Class 4A Region II area soccer playoff at Pine Tree Stadium.
Pine Tree (22-1-1) plays Whitehouse next Friday in a 4A Region II sectional playoff at a site and time to be determined.
Thursday’s victory came on the heels of a 2-0 overtime win against John Tyler, Pine Tree’s second OT win in its last four matches. But Lilly Cabrera scored PT’s first goal off an Amanda Cabrera assist in the first minute before Erin Bailey set up Lady Pirate career goals and assists leader Amanda Wallin for a goal and 2-0 lead in the ninth minute.
Pine Tree eventually built a 3-0 lead before putting the match away in the 69th minute. Shelton said the fast start got the entire team in a better flow.
“It was a big relief. It was a lot less stressful. I think once we got the first one in we could calm down and play our game and just focus on the next one instead of stressing out about getting one,” she said. “Overtime taught us a lesson. We don’t wanna do that again.”
Pine Tree coach Daniel Rich agreed.
“All we focused on (after Tuesday’s OT win vs. John Tyler) was trying to get a quick start and not wait and be lackadaisical and hope that we can turn it on in the end because it’s gonna be very important as we move into the next few rounds that we wake up early,” Rich said.
Shelton drilled a long, looping goal shooting near the numbers from left to right for PT’s 3-0 lead in the 42nd minute. Pleasant Grove’s Chelsea Cole scored on a penalty kick in the 62nd minute to cut Pine Tree’s lead to two. The Lady Hawks came close to narrowing the gap to one three minutes later on a shot off the crossbar, but PT goalkeeper Brittany Hollis deflected the rebound toward her defense to get the ball out of the box.
Then Wallin scored her 24th goal of the season — and notched her second consecutive two-goal effort — in the 69th minute off a Charley Tyeskie assist for a 4-1 advantage.
“After this game I really feel like with the intensity, the chemistry, and the ball movement, I think we’re in a good place right now,” said Rich of his team entering the third round.
Pleasant Grove, which did not have a single senior on the roster, finished the season 16-6.