The Pinecrest girls clinched their 14th regular season conference soccer title in a row with a 4-0 victory over Hoke County at John Williams Stadium Wednesday evening.
Junior Antonia Meyers scored the first two goals in the Senior Night contest as the Patriots improved to 9-0 in the Southeastern Conference and 13-6-3 overall. Hoke, 7-2 and 13-4-2, could have moved into a tie for first place with a win.
The two teams are scheduled to wrap up league play with a 7 p.m. return engagement at Hoke on Thursday. The Patriots are scheduled to entertain New Hanover on Friday in the final match of the regular season.
Eight seniors took the field at the start, including Kate Hieronymus, who had knee surgery several weeks ago. The four-year midfield starter remained on the field long enough for senior teammate Lauren Corrigan to kick off and send the ball out of bounds.
Five minutes into the first half, Kristen Phelps sent a ball into a crowded Buck penalty box that Meyers somehow found and finished with her first touch. Most of the remainder of the match was played in the Hoke defensive half, but the Bucks surrendered goals grudgingly.
The Patriots didn’t score again until the 71st minute when Meyers buried the rebound off a header by Ally Parziale that was stopped by the Bucks’ standout goalkeeper Janae Aiken, making it 2-0. About two minutes later, left back Keegan Lynch pounced on a short clearance by the Buck defense and carried the ball about 20 yards before depositing it high into the net in the far corner of the goal.
The Pats scored for the third time in less than three minutes when senior Michele Lynch threaded a ball wide to Kelly Palmer who knocked it into the net in while in stride.
Freshmen goalkeeper Abbey Crider recorded two saves in the Patriots 11th shutout of the season. The other seniors honored at halftime were Ashlyn Douglas, Beth Hieronymus, Alexa Zoellner, Claire Epling and Mariotti Meyers.