Pinewood boys suffer heartbreaking defeat in state final
The Pinewood Prep boys’ soccer team suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in the SCISA AAA finals for the third consecutive season.
With less than four minutes remaining in the second overtime period, the Panthers could taste victory in the match against Cardinal Newman at Patriots Point.
Pinewood finally gained the lead for the first time in the match to go up 3-2 but those four minutes proved to be a very painful minutes.
Cardinal Newman’s Koty Millard, who is touted as the state’s best player, put the final blow to the match. Millard, who plays for the South Carolina Battery Academy and received a special waiver to play for his high school, scored two goals in the last four minutes of the overtime period and sent Pinewood Prep to a crushing defeat.
“I am so proud of our soccer program and their determination on Saturday,” Pinewood Athletic Director Nancy Beatty said. “Our program has developed over the years the reputation that other programs aspire to be. I am just so sad for our seniors that our 10th consecutive visit to the state final did not finish with the result we had hoped for. However, they should be proud of how they played and how they gave everything they had to try and achieve the title.”
Pinewood Prep played most of the second half and both overtime periods a man down due to a red card. This disadvantage proved costly late in the game when Cardinal Newman pressed offensively and Pinewood had nothing left in the tank.
“Playing one player less, that hurts,” Pinewood coach Enrique Rodriguez said. “I think 11 on 11 we can hold them there. We managed to score a goal, but it’s tough. But they have a great player and he made great plays. We could not deal with him. He had an opportunity and he made the most of it.”
Millard scored on a penalty kick in the first half to give Cardinal Newman a 2-0 lead so he ended the match with three goals.
Pinewood Junior Logan Pooser made it 2-1 with a goal before halftime, and Jarrett Londergan tied it at 2 with a goal nine minutes into the second period. This seemed to give Pinewood some momentum and then in the first 10-minute overtime, Londergan gave Pinewood a 3-2 lead with 3:30 to go.
The match was a physical affair. Four yellow cards for rough play were issued in the opening 13 minutes of the game and after each of its first two goals, Cardinal Newman received a yellow card for unsportsmanship. The second yellow card resulted in the ejection of Cardinal Newman coach Will Eudy.
For Rodriguez, the focus turns to the future.
“It’s a great group of boys,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone contributed to the success that we had and we have some good boys coming back. We will try again next year. That’s all we can say.”