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Pine Tree Erases Two-Goal Deficit to Defeat North Dallas + Reach Regional Tournament

Pine Tree’s Allan Maceda handles the ball near the sideline during the Pirates’ bi-district win over Lindale on March 25 in Tyler. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

FORNEY — Through the first 12 minutes, it seemed as if it would be a long night for the Pine Tree Pirates. But as coach Andre’ Lo often says, “the ‘O’ in ‘champion’ stands for ‘overcome.’”

And that’s exactly what Pine Tree did, erasing an early two-goal deficit to hand North Dallas a stunning 4-2 defeat Tuesday night in their Class 4A Region II quarterfinal at City Bank Stadium.

Pine Tree (21-4-3) will face Frisco Wakeland, a 6-3 winner over Mesquite Poteet, in one regional semifinal at 2:30 p.m. Friday from Carrollton’s Standridge Stadium. District 32-4A rival Hallsville will play in the other regional semi at noon Friday against Frisco Liberty.

“We have a shot, but we’re the underdog,” Lo said. “I’m really proud of District 32-4A with two teams in the regionals. Anybody could’ve won the district, and I’m glad we’re in a good district to prepare us for this kind of situation. It says a lot about East Texas soccer, and hopefully we’ll represent well.”

North Dallas grabbed a 2-0 lead with first-half goals two minutes apart. Daniel Ruano blasted a shot off the right post and in from 27 yards out to put North Dallas up 1-0 at the 30:03 mark, and that was followed by Enrique Galvan’s goal off a Ruano corner kick to put Pine Tree in a big hole early.

“I got a bad feeling because we lost the toss and they had the wind,” Lo said. “And I knew what they were going to do, and that’s forcing us. We made a couple of errors and let them take advantage of it, and we were kinda rattled a little bit. We just needed to settle down. I know my kids, and I knew they could come back.”

Pine Tree, in desperate need of some good fortune before the half, got it in the form of Allan Maceda, who cut the Pirates’ deficit in half with a goal from 18 yards away with 4:15 before halftime.

Maceda was in the middle of the action for the game-tying goal, which came with 14 minutes to play in the match. Maceda was taken down inside the box, which led to a penalty-kick opportunity for Juan Paz. The PK was good, which tied the game at 2-2.

With less than four minutes to play, Maceda volleyed the ball over a North Dallas defender and kicked home the eventual game-winner when the North Dallas goalie vacated the net in an attempt to cut off the scoring opportunity.

“The key turning point was with (four minutes) left before halftime,” Lo said. “When we get the ball, we need to get in the box and that’s what Allan did. I told him, ‘don’t try to hit it hard, just lay it in the corner and the goalie won’t’ be able to save it.’ On the PK, same thing — he got in the box and he drew the foul.”

True Clark put the finishing touches on the comeback victory by ripping a goal from 35 yards out, as the Pirates scored three goals in the game’s final 14 minutes to punch their ticket to regionals.

“It’s not something that we have not experienced,” Lo said of his team playing from behind. “I don’t like to have it, but the kids — even though they played a little bit last year — are still relatively young. But I know they’re fighters.”

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