Pinson soccer teams cruise in first round; Hewitt girls, Clay boys advance
By Gary Lloyd and Erik Harris
PINSON — Tori Gann scored five goals to lead the Pinson Valley varsity girls soccer team to a 10-0 drubbing of Parker in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs Wednesday.
The Lady Indians also got goals from Savannah Hudson, Tori Brown, Laurel Uhomba, Jessica Stacy and Janise Edwards.
The girls will host Moody at 4 p.m. Saturday in the second round of the state playoffs.
The Pinson Valley varsity boys got an easy win of their own Wednesday, dropping Paul Bryant 9-2 in the first round. Jordan Walton scored four girls to lead the Indians. The boys will host Walker at 6 p.m. Saturday in the second round.
The No. 8 Hewitt-Trussville varsity girls soccer team earned its second shutout of the Class 6A playoffs Wednesday, defeating No. 9 Gadsden City 3-0. Junior Lauren Smith did much of the offensive damage for the Lady Huskies (14-3-3). Midway through the first half Smith found herself on the receiving end of a beautiful Madison Snow pass that put her in a one-on-one battle with the Lady Titans goalkeeper. Smith capitalized for her first of two goals.
“That’s our midfield working with our strikers,” said Hewitt-Trussville coach Justin Pino. “It was a nice one-two, (Snow) saw her make the run and a lot of the time it’s eye contact.”
Her second trip to the scoreboard came early in the second half when she lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper into the post before tapping it into an open net. That fancy footwork gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
Fellow junior Audrey Bland put the match out of reach with a late goal. She delivered with a bending shot from left of the arc that landed in the back of the net.
Hewitt-Trussville played strong defensively for much of the game. The Lady Huskies limited Gadsden City’s opportunities, allowing only five shots at goal. Hewitt-Trussville managed 20 shots on goal.
“Our defense has been solid the entire year. Our midfield comes back and defends, our outside-mids have come back and defended,” Pino said. “I stress defense is ultimately more important.”
The Lady Huskies will travel to No. 6 Mountain Brook on Saturday for the quarterfinals.
The Clay-Chalkville varsity boys soccer team earned a quarterfinals berth by winning 2-1 at Hewitt-Trussville on Wednesday. The Cougars got a great performance from goalkeeper DeMarious Craig, who repeatedly snatched the host’s comeback opportunities out of the air.
“(Craig) does well in the air and 75 percent of the balls, from what I could see, were in the air, so that played into his strength,” said Hewitt-Trussville coach Allen Adams. “With that being said, he did a fabulous job.”
Craig made multiple second-half saves as Clay-Chalkville protected a slim lead.
“I’m proud of our goalie,” said Cougars coach Wade Lyon. “He’s improved a lot. This is his first year playing goalie with us.”
The Cougars took the field with an offensive mindset early. Striker Warren LeGrand got the scoring started as he navigated a crowded box and scored in the 21st minute. Josh Almandarez later found a crossing Vidalo Kibiya off a corner kick that Kibiya headed past the Huskies goalkeeper for a 2-0 advantage shortly before the break.
Hewitt-Trussville came out strong in the second half. Junior T.J. McGettigan got the Huskies on the board with an acrobatic goal via bicycle kick.
However, the Clay-Chalkville defense tightened and held the Huskies scoreless for the remainder of the match. Lyon opted to move LeGrand, who primarily plays on the offensive end, back into a defensive position.
“He’s scored half our goals, but he’s one guy that we can put in the back to lock down and take command,” Lyon said.
Clay-Chalkville now hosts top-ranked Vestavia Hills in the quarterfinals Saturday.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.