Tuesday, May 13, 2014
In their third meeting of the season, the Pinewood Prep girls' soccer team earned a 5-0 win over Hilton Head Christian Saturday to claim the SCISA AAA State Championship.
The Lady Panthers weren't even favored to make the championship game this season, but Pinewood pulled out a 2-1 upset against Cardinal Newman in a semifinal match last Thursday at George Watson Field in Columbia to advance.
Pinewood and Hilton Head Christian split two regular season matchups this season to share their region championship. But it was Pinewood that claimed the season series and the state championship trophy with its win at Heathwood Hall, a neutral site.
The championship is Lady Pabnthers' third overall, the first since 2010. Coach Gail Osborne's squad finishes this season with an 18-1-3 record and with style.
“No way did I expect this type of score, not against a team we lost to a few weeks ago,” Osborne said. “We were confident that we could win but I knew it would take every single player showing up. This was not our same team that showed up a few weeks ago when we lost 3-0 to Hilton Head Christian.”
Osborne felt it was important for her team to not feel overconfident going into the finals.
“I was a little worried about how we would start the final, coming off the win over Cardinal Newman on Thursday,” she said. “I told the girls to not let that win be for nothing, to go out and win the state championship. I am so proud of this team. It has been a whole team effort for the entire season.”
Hilton Head Christian was the more aggressive offensive team in the first 20 minutes, peppering several shots near the goal with no success. The team had three solid shots on goal in the opening minutes and the last tipped over the crossbar at the last second. “It helped us keep focus and stay in the game,” Pinewood Prep goalkeeper Hannah Miner said. “We knew what we had to do, we had to stay strong in the midfield and that's exactly what we did.”
Pinewood Prep had one key surge that resulted in a goal when Kaylee Kemp tipped in a loose ball near the goal for a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute of the half.
Six minutes later, Pinewood Prep's Katie Black took the ball and out-ran two HHCA defenders down the sideline. She centered a perfect pass to Charlotte Ring, who blistered the left corner of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Hilton Head Christian upped the pressure to start the second half but was unable to break through with a goal. Midway through the second half, Pinewood Prep made it 3-0 with a goal from Summer Ricciardi, off a pass from Ring.
“What they did very well in the final was pressuring the ball,” Eagles coach Ben Gerdts said. “And that's something they didn't do very well the last time.”
Osborne knew the first 10 minutes of the second half were going to be important. “At 2-0, if we allow a quick goal, it's wide open again,” she said. “We were able to hold them off and then we got it going on the offensive end.”
In the 27th minute of the half, Pinewood's Kaley Katsanis scored on a free kick after a hand ball, finding the back of the net from 25 yards out for a 4-0 lead.
Ring tallied her second goal with five minutes remaining for the final margin.
“We had great seniors who led on and off the field, and this team was very close,” Osborne said. “I'm not surprised at all, because this is a team that wants it; we had a game plan and followed it perfectly. This is one of the most satisfying seasons I have had as coach. This team accomplished so much.”