Pine Tree Fights Back to Beat Whitehouse 2-1 in 4A Region II Third-Round Girls Soccer Playoff
LINDALE — Thanks to a two-goal second half from a junior, Pine Tree’s girls soccer team will play a familiar foe in next week’s Class 4A Region II quarterfinals.
Whitehouse led Pine Tree by one goal as late as the 56th minute of Friday’s 4A Region II sectional playoff, but PT’s Ana Solis scored twice for a Lady Pirate offensive attack that ramped up its aggression to come away with a 2-1 victory at Eagle Stadium.
For the fourth consecutive year, Pine Tree (23-1-1) will play Waxahachie in the playoffs. That match is 7 p.m. Tuesday at Palestine’s Wildcat Stadium. Waxahachie won the first two before the Lady Pirates, whose 23 wins have tied a single-season school record, won last season to reach the 4A Region II tournament.
Pine Tree tied Friday’s match when Solis booted in a goal in the 57th minute off a rebound from Amanda Wallin’s left-side shot that bounced off the left post. Seven minutes later, Solis bodied in a corner kick right in front of the net. Whitehouse’s goalkeeper almost stopped it, but the ball slipped through for a 2-1 Pine Tree lead.
Pine Tree coach Daniel Rich saw a different team playing for him after halftime, which saw Whitehouse leading 1-0.
“We attacked the goal. That was the biggest change from the first half to the second half. We put three forwards up and I said, ‘I want you to attack the goal and put the ball up. We can beat that back line,’” Rich said. “We finally got one through when Wallin got that shot. I put Solis up top because we weren’t getting enough aggressive play. I knew she would be aggressive and win those balls, and it paid off.”
Whitehouse controlled the first half and gained a 3-2 shots-on-goal advantage heading to intermission. Brittany Matthews, who came close to scoring three times on powerful long-range boots, sent a free kick off the crossbar in the 24th minute to allow Becca Garcia to get the rebound goal for a 1-0 edge.
Although she didn’t score, Wallin — PT’s career goals and assists leader — spearheaded the Lady Pirates’ second-half efforts to turn up the heat. She had three second-half shots on goal, including the shot that ricocheted off the left post for Solis’ first goal.
“When you need her, she turns that switch on and says, ‘Come on, team. Get on my back. We’re going ahead,’” Rich said. “For four years I’ve counted on her to do that.”
Pine Tree’s defense preserved the 2-1 lead for the final 16 minutes. Goalkeeper Brittany Hollis made a diving deflection on a short-range header in the 70th minute to prevent Whitehouse from tying the contest.
Rich hopes the Lady Pirates can beat Waxahachie for the second consecutive year to create a 2-2 series tie between the teams during the last four seasons.
“Last year we finally broke through,” he said. “We just had a little bit more firepower than them. This year I’m hoping for the same.”