Pine Tree Clinches Outright District 32-4A Championship with 2-0 Overtime Win Against Rival Hallsville
LONGVIEW -- If Pine Tree didn't know how to play overtime, the Lady Pirates didn't show it Tuesday night against Hallsville.
Pine Tree clinched an outright District 32-4A championship with two goals in the 20 minutes after regulation to remain undefeated in league play thanks to a 2-0 senior night victory over the rival Ladycats at PIne Tree Stadium.
Pine Tree (19-1-1, 11-0) can clinch an undefeated 32-4A run with a win at Marshall on Friday evening. The loss dropped Hallsville, which lost 1-0 in its first meeting against Pine Tree, to 8-3 in 32-4A.
"At first they didn't know what to do or how much time," joked Pine Tree coach Daniel Rich about his team playing in overtime. "They've always been told, but this senior group usually takes care of things (in regulation). But when you're playing Hallsville they're gonna do whatever they can, and it was fitting that it was Hallsville that put us in overtime for the first time. ... I definitely feel like them and Kilgore and us are the top of the district. Hallsville is right there among all of us as one of the better teams in East Texas in 4A."
Senior Amanda Cabrera was involved in both of Pine Tree's goals. She scored the go-ahead goal off a well-placed, left-footed Emily Shelton boot that Cabrera picked up on the run down the middle of the field, leaving Cabrera with a 1-on-1 situation against Hallsville's goalkeeper. Cabrera cashed in from short range for the lead 3 1/2 minutes into the first 10-minute overtime period.
Halfway through the second OT period, Cabrera hooked a corner kick in front of Hallsville's net, where two Lady Pirates tried to head the ball in. Hallsville goalkeeper Madison Simmons stopped the ball, but her momentum carried her across the goal line for a 2-0 Pine Tree lead.
"This group that's seniors, they haven't done anything but win districts, so with them finishing it off as seniors and becoming district champs once again is just a credit to this whole group," Rich said.
Simmons had a valiant effort in the loss. Under consistent pressure from Pine Tree's offensive attack, Simmons kept the Lady Pirates off the scoreboard for 83 1/2 minutes. She made 12 saves on PT's 16 shots on goal.
Cabrera's goal was her 19th of the season. That puts her one behind classmate Amanda Wallin, who has 20. Wallin is PT's career goals and assists leader.
Pine Tree got another shutout from its senior goalkeeper duo of Brittany Hollis and Kaiti Lawrence, which combined with a solid defensive unit to keep Hallsville off the scoreboard. Hollis and Lawrence each had two saves.
The performance encouraged Rich, who said the defense has struggled to maintain a consistent lineup because of multiple factors.
"It's actually been one of the most unsettling parts for the last month with some injuries, having to kinda move some people in and out, and some other people couldn't really handle certain positions," Rich. "Tonight we made a couple adjustments and the defense that just walked off the field I think is gonna probably move us forward."
Pine Tree and Marshall play at 5:15 p.m. Friday in a regular-season finale.