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Panther Boys finish as region runner-up

Panther Boys finish as region runner-up

Shane DaRae moves the ball up field for the Panthers April 29 during their match against Cathedral Academy.

A young Pinewood Prep Boys Soccer team scrapped this season to finish second in its region.

The Panthers went 6-2 in region play with the two losses coming to Porter-Gaud. Pinewood was scheduled to open the SCISA AAA Boys Soccer Playoffs May 3 by hosting Hammond. The winner of that match will face either Cardinal Newman or Wilson Hall May 5 in the second round. Porter-Gaud, Heathwood Hall, Ben Lippen and First Baptist are in the other playoff bracket.

Pinewood only has two seniors this season, Addison Venittelli and Ben Brown. Venittelli was on the team for the few games it played last season before schools were closed due to COVID-19, but essentially entering this season neither Brown nor Venittelli had participated in organized soccer since their sixth-grade year.

Pinewood only has one junior and the rest of the squad is comprised of underclassmen, including five eighth-graders.

“This season has largely been about developing team chemistry and I’m pleased with the way our guys have learned to play as a unit,” Pinewood coach Collin Phillips said. “Playing good defense was one of our goals and we haven’t conceded many goals except for in the matches against Porter-Gaud.”

Junior Jay Diffley and freshman goal keeper Coleman Fulkerson anchor the back side of the field for the Panthers.

“Coleman is a good shot blocker with quick reflexes,” Phillips said. “He is having a good season. Jay is a captain and a great ball winner, especially in the air. He is a great teammate, on and off the field.”

Sophomore Shane DaRae anchors the mid-field and sophomore Hughston Reagin is the leader up top.

“Because of COVID, this is really my first full season with this team and we had a late start,” Phillips said. “We are playing well now and jelling. They are understanding what I want them to do.”

The Panthers are coming off a 7-1 win against non-region opponent Cathedral Academy April 29. Brown and Dominic Kassing scored two goals each for the Panthers.