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Mackenzie Posey’s Second-Half Hat Trick Propels Waxahachie Past Pine Tree, 3-2

Pine Tree’s Lily Cabrera (4) shoots past Pleasant Grove’s Ashlyn Hurst (20) during PT’s 4-1 Class 4A Region II area playoff win last week at Pine Tree Stadium. Cabrera scored a goal in Tuesday’s 3-2 regional quarterfinal loss to Waxahachie in Palestine. (© Christopher R. Vinn/www.etsn.fm)

PALESTINE — For more than 61 minutes, Pine Tree handled two opponents aiming to knock the Lady Pirates from the Class 4A soccer playoffs: Waxahachie and the wind.

But facing a stiff southern wind the entire second half, the Lady Pirates couldn’t hold a two-goal lead.

In the match’s 62nd minute, Mackenzie Posey scored her first of three goals in the final 18:45, culminating in a 40-yard free-kick rocket with 22 seconds on the clock that lifted Waxahachie to a 3-2 comeback victory in Tuesday’s Region II quarterfinal at Wildcat Stadium.

Waxahachie faces Highland Park in a 4A Region II semifinal at noon Friday in Carrollton. Tuesday’s victory marked the third time in four years that Waxahachie knocked out Pine Tree in the regional quarterfinal round. Last season, Pine Tree beat the Lady Indians to advance to the regional semifinals, where they lost to eventual state champion Highland Park.

Posey scored in the 62nd minute on a mid-range floater aided by the win to cut Pine Tree’s lead to 2-1. She tied the match on a 35-yard free-kick goal from the right side about eight minutes later.

Pine Tree survived a promising opportunity for Waxahachie to score in the 75th minute, but with the clock winding down, Posey delivered the knockout blow with a perfectly struck free kick from 40 yards near the left hash in the match’s final half minute.

“I felt like if you take away those two free kicks they got, we’re in good shape,” said longtime PT coach Daniel Rich. “We were able to stymie their attack, but making two mistakes and giving them free kicks within range with the wind at their back, those type of teams are gonna punish you. … Ever since we’ve played them they’ve always had someone who could put a ball from that distance and usually place them on goal like that. Kind of a specialist, I guess.”

Pine Tree gained a 2-0 halftime lead with the wind at its back.

In the 22nd minute, Amanda Wallin’s cross found Lilly Cabrera, who scored on a 20-yard, left-footed boot from the right side of the goal. Seven minutes later, Amanda Cabrera scored on a left-footed kick near the numbers on the right side for a two-goal advantage.

Pine Tree had three more shots on goal before Posey’s hat trick started, but the Lady Pirates couldn’t add to their lead.

Pine Tree’s 23-2-1 record ties the Lady Pirates’ single-season program record.

Pine Tree’s senior class — Amanda Cabrera, Wallin, Devin Assenheimer, Brittany Hollis (goalkeeper), Kaiti Lawrence (goalkeeper), Sarah Poff, Becca Schwartz, and Emily Shelton — helped PT notch four consecutive regional quarterfinal runs, including last year’s regional semifinal appearance.

Wallin finished her senior season with 24 goals and 19 assists. She concludes her high school career as PT’s all-time leader in goals and assists with 119 goals and 80 assists. That’s 35 goals and 26 assists more than the second-place totals in those categories.

“You can’t put into words what that group has meant to Pine Tree soccer because once they got on the scene as freshmen they started winning and never looked back,” Rich said. “They pushed us to the regional quarterfinals all four years. I couldn’t ask for anything better than what they did. I knew they were gonna be special as seniors. In my opinion, they don’t deserve this. They deserve another opportunity in the regional tournament.”

Pleasant Grove’s Haley Teel (22) and Ashlyn Hurst (20) converge on Pine Tree’s Amanda Wallin (10) during PT’s 4-1 Class 4A Region II area playoff win against Pleasant Grove last week at Pine Tree Stadium. Wallin finished her PT career as the school’s leader in goals (119) and assists (80). (© Christopher R. Vinn/www.etsn.fm)

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