Pinewood girls repeat as soccer champions

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Pinewood Prep senior Charlotte Ring finished her season with 46 goals — no two more important than the last two.

Ring scored two goals in Saturday’s SCISA AAA state championship game, leading Pinewood Prep to a 2-1 win over Cardinal Newman. The championship was Pinewood Prep’s second straight and fourth since 2009 and capped a 17-4 season for the Panthers.

“I can’t even describe what this feels like,” said Ring. “We wanted this so bad and we worked so hard for this. I wanted to leave this year with another championship and I just tried to do whatever I could to help us win today.”

Ring’s second goal of the game came just 25 seconds after Cardinal-Newman, the state’s top-ranked team, tied the score on Chloe Cobb’s header in the 55th minute of play.

Before the Cardinals could finish celebrating, the Panthers pushed the ball downfield with Ring taking a pass from Rachel Trout and finding the net on a clear shot from 15 yards out.

“We don’t get down, we just push back and try to get control after someone scores,” said Ring.

After a scoreless first half where both teams had chances but failed to score, the Panthers broke the scoring ice seven minutes into the second half. Ring gathered a ball deep near the corner and unleashed a rocket towards the goal. The ball carried deep into the box, bent in towards the goal, hit the crossbar and bounced pass the keeper.

Pinewood Prep coach Gail Osborne called it a shot but Ring admitted she was simply trying to get the ball inside the box.

“I was pretty far out but I knew I could cross it in front of the goal and maybe make something happen,” says Ring. “I was able to find the net.”

“Charlotte is so strong, she takes those types of shots,” said Osborne. “She’s a special player and she plays so well in these big games.”

Things got a little hectic late in the game as Pinewood Prep picked up two yellow cards and had to scramble defensively as Cardinal Newman pressed to score. A free kick just before the final whistle was gathered in by keeper Hannah Miner to seal the victory.

“I thought it was a well-played game by two evenly matched teams,” said Osborne. “I’m very proud of our team. Cardinal Newman is a great team. They never stopped fighting and we were able to hold them off. It got a little nervous at the end, but we won. I’m really happy for our team. They worked hard for this and they played amazing today.”