Pioneers beat Mallard Creek in first round
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga advanced to host A.C. Reynolds at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Reynolds beat Watauga 2-1 earlier in the season.
Trey Ollis took a rebound off a direct kick just over the 18-yard box and blasted a low shot into the Mallard Creek goal, which gave the Pioneers a 2-1 lead with 1:42 left in the game. Ollis was able to slip his shot to the right of the Mallard Creek keeper.
“It was a ball that came out,” Ollis said. “I was afraid I was going to shank it. I put it low. I figured everybody was going to jump up, so I put it low and it went by the keeper.”
Watauga (16-3-2) was not able to get a normal practice done this week after the recent storm that hit the High Country. The Pioneers were supposed to play Mallard Creek (11-11-2) on Wednesday, but classes were closed.
“I was worried about this game because we weren’t able to practice outside,” Pioneers coach Woody McKay said. “We had an indoor practice Monday. We had an indoor pickup practice with just 13 guys (Wednesday) and sure enough, the first 15 or 20 minutes they outplayed us.”
Mallard Creek took a 1-0 halftime lead on a goal with 13:14 left in the first half. Alex Parsons nearly tied the game in the first half, but his shot following a breakaway went wide.
Parsons got a second chance when he scored on a direct kick from about 30 yards away. He was fouled working his way toward the Mallard Creek goal before taking his shot.
His goal, scored with 6:30 left in the game, gave the Pioneers a 1-1 tie.
“We made some adjustments,” McKay said. “They were paying with just one guy up high trying to score, so we switched three to the back. We had a defensive break down when they scored, but once the guys calmed down at halftime and realized why we had three in the back, we played it really nicely.”
Watauga’s victory avenged a 2-1 loss to Mallard Creek in the playoffs last year. The Pioneers avoided losing two games in a row after falling to St. Stephens 2-1 on Oct. 24. Mallard Creek, lost three of its final four games.