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Lady Panthers look strong entering the playoffs

Lady Panthers look strong entering the playoffs

Olivia Truitt is one of eight seniors on this year’s Pinewood Prep Girls Soccer team.

The Pinewood Prep Girls Soccer team avenged one of its three losses on the season with a victory over Hilton Head Prep April 29.

The Lady Panthers claimed a 4-3 victory at home to improve to 17-3 and capture the SCISA Region 2-AAA Championship. It was the 257th career win for Pinewood Head Coach Gail Osborne.

“That was a big game for us,” Osborne said. “We lost to them at their place 1-0 back in the beginning of the season. It was a hot day and we were missing two starters so we didn’t play the way we should. Today it was also hot, but they had to travel and we had our starters back.”

Freshman Maggie Rollins scored three goals and freshman Sara Clayton had one. Sophomore Jessica Osborne had assists on three of the goals.

Pinewood has built up substantial momentum this season.

The team played in two tournaments, where it faced strong competition from teams including Spring Valley, Dreher, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Bishop England and Hammond. The Panthers finished as the runner-up for both tournaments after falling 1-0 to Bishop England in one and 3-0 to Hammond in the other.

The Panthers also swept long-time region foe Porter-Gaud, earning a 2-1 victory on the Cyclones’ field and handing Porter-Gaud a 2-0 loss in Summerville.

“I have eight seniors this year who didn’t get to play last year so for me this season was all about trying to honor them and making sure they got to play,” Coach Osborne said. “I’m super proud of all 17 players. They work hard every day. They put the time in and now that is paying off. We had some injuries during the season but we seem to be coming out the other side of that. We loaded our schedule in hopes that it would help us win these tough games at the end of the season.”

Three members of the team have already signed to play collegiate soccer next school year. Riley Cox has signed with Appalachian State University. Lauren DaRe has signed with Lander University. Jordan White has signed with Francis Marion University.

The team’s other seniors are Kailie Greer, Laura Martinez, Karen Russi, Olivia Truitt and McKenna Zielke.

“What I like about this team is the mentoring we have and the relationships between the upper classmen and under classmen,” the coach said. “It has been a real team performance this year. We are scoring a lot of goals but our defense is also playing well.”

Pinewood has 10 shutouts so far.

While the seniors have led the way, underclassmen are also doing their part. Rollins has scored 50 goals this season. Jessica Osborne, who was invited to workout at the U.S. Soccer Youth National Team Identification Center earlier this year, has been a force for the Panthers’ midfield. Other underclassmen are Madison Adams, Abby Willis, Elin Fields, Rachel Holden, Alexa McCardle and Kailen Dasinger.

Pinewood will open the playoffs May 4 by hosting Augusta Christian at 6 p.m. The winner of that match will face either Cardinal Newman or Porter-Gaud in the semi-finals May 6. Hammond, First Baptist, Hilton Head Prep and Ben Lippen are the teams in the other playoff bracket.

“Hilton Head Prep has one player committed to Vanderbilt University and another committed to the University of Arkansas,” Coach Osborne said. “Hammond and Cardinal Newman are powers in the up state so we are expecting it to be tough.”