WENDELL — The playoffs are supposed to be a bigger challenge for teams. That wasn’t the case for Corinth Holders Wednesday night in the opening round of the 2A boys soccer playoffs. Why?
The Pirates did the one thing that ensures success in a single-elimination tournament: keep the opposition from scoring.
Corinth Holders rolled into the second round Hunt with a 4-0 win over Hillsborough Cedar Ridge, moving to 16-4-1 on the season.
Junior goalkeeper Christian Green got the clean sheet for the Pirates, but he was quick to credit his defensive line for the result.
“The backline in front of me was just great: Kevin (Rosales), Daniel (Barajas), Jamie (Schap) and those guys,” Green said. “They won key balls in the air. We had a few silly fouls in the first half but we got rid of those in the second half. They made my job easy.”
But Corinth Holders coach Brent Walston heaped plenty of praise on Green’s play: “Christian played his best game of the season. He made all the plays he had to. … Shutouts in the state playoffs are what you’re after. If you can keep your opponent from scoring, it’s a pretty simple game.”
It took the Pirate offense 19 minutes to claim a lead. Junior forward Zach Blinson worked the ball deep into the right corner before launching a cross into the six-yard box with Aaron Lopez charging through the middle and Pedro Segundo trailing near the far edge of the penalty area.
Lopez couldn’t get to the ball so it reached Segundo just as he neared the end line.
“I really thought that Aaron (Lopez) was going to get to it,” Segundo said. “But once it popped through to me, I just tried to hit it at the right angle and hard.”
Segundo did just that, squeezing the ball into the far corner of the net for a 1-0 lead that held until the half.
It took another 19 minutes of play before the Pirates added to their lead. That’s when Lopez crossed the ball into a crowded goal area. Barajas struck the ball cleanly but it hit the post. Blinson followed with another hard shot but his went off of the post as well. Fortunately for the Pirates the ball found Barajas’ foot again and he slammed it home for a two-goal margin.
Blinson added the third goal on a breakout pass from Hayden Lane, while Justin Rogers picked up his first goal of the season (on a feed from Dalton Parker) with less than three minutes to play.
“They created a lot of space and were really doing a good job of carrying the ball in deep and then making an early cross,” Green said of his team’s offense. “It really put a lot of pressure on their defenders.”
The Pirates outshot the Red Wolves 19-8 on the night.
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